Mailbag: Wise Men and Wizards

I received this note in today’s morning flock of email owls:

I have a question for you. Maybe you addressed it in one of your books, I can’t remember right now. But Christmas triggered this question among my friends: why the Wizarding Community celebrates Christmas, since everything Jesus did could have been done by a wizard? The only thing we thought could be impossible for a Wizard is resurrection, but then again, if Muggles were the only witnesses, why would Wizards trust them? And seen by Muggle or magical person, why wouldn’t the Wizards check that testimony themselves (via Veritaserum or Legilimency?)

My response was close to a non-response but it raised an important point. More after the jump! [Read more…]

A Magical Time of Year: Lumos Fun!

‘A Magical Time of Year’ is a collection of holiday music, profane and sentimental, by various Wizarding World property actors and actresses, from the well known Alison Sudol, Warwick Davis, Dan Fogler, and Ezra Miller to the folks you’d have to look up, the guy playing Ron Weasley in the London production of ‘Cursed Child.’ A pound and a few pence from every purchase goes to Lumos, and because Rowling’s Beedle the Bard was given to Lumos to cover their operating costs, all that money goes to uniting children with families.

A good deal all around, because the music for the most part is quite good. Alison Sudol’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,’ as you’d expect, may be the best but Kevin Guthrie’s ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ is a keeper, too.

You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube now and then make your purchase here.

You might want to buy them one track at a time, though, lest you be subjected to Ezra Miller’s bizarro tunes, especially his work with Dan Fogler on ‘Hannukah, Oh Hannukah.’ If you wonder how these two will work out their relationship with J. K. Rowling over her #IStandWithMaya Tweet Heard Round the World, I’m right there with you!

Hanukkah, O Hanukkah from Gabriel Sunday on Vimeo.

TheRowlingLibrary: Kloves and Rowling

TheRowlingLibrary.com, a website and an online fanzine, has just published their December 2019 issue, and it’s a good one. The feature article of #36 is about J. K. Rowling and Steve Kloves and the much neglected change in their relationship with respect to the Fantastic Beasts series (in brief, Kloves is now not only an Executive Producer in his role as Rowling Re-writer but actually credited as a co-writer). That’s worth the time it takes to download issue in itself, but there’s more.

In addition, there is a review of all the Headline Generating Events of 2019 in Harry Potter fandom and an in-depth survey of the Christmas celebrations in each Harry Potter book. If you’re like me, both of those pieces will have several “I forgot all about that!” forehead slapping moments. There is also a wonderfully out-there piece by S. Sipal on the new Rowling twitter header with its Tarot card theme; Sipal, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the Fantastic Beasts film franchise esoterica and inside baseball, links the Tarot cards to possibilities in the next Beasts film.

This is all great material and fun reading! TheRowlingLibrary creates a fun and beautiful product and deserve your attention and support.

Is it perfect? No, but what is?

I suspect you’ll be as disappointed as I was that this issue went to press before the Tweet Heard Round the World, Rowling’s #IStandWithMaya Ezra Pound moment on 19 December, the 2019 event most fans will remember as the biggest news of the year. And why no mention in the Christmas survey of Beatrice Groves’ delightful LeakyCauldron posts on the Christmas Roses and Why a Basilisk fears the Rooster’s Cry?

And I just blushed at the Sipal piece on the Tarot Cards because she doesn’t know, as Evan Willis pointed out at HogwartsProfessor in August, five months before Rowling posted the three cards on her Twitter page, that these cards are featured on the cover of Blue Oyster Cult album, Agents of Fortune. They’re not about the Fantastic Beasts movie at all, alas, but the Cormoran Strike mysteries in which at least one Serious Striker believes the song ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ acts as something like The Prophecy does in Harry Potter. [For more on Rowling and the Tarot, read the three posts I wrote on The Hanged Man card here at HogwartsProfessor.]

Those are nit-picking criticisms, though, that only demonstrate how closely I read every issue of TheRowlingLibrary when it comes out! I recommend you download the current issue and read it yourself.

The Strange Case of the Missing Fan Site

MuggleNet.com is the Coke to Leaky-Cauldron.org’s Pepsi in Harry Potter fandom. The site is the click bait tool of Emerson Spartz, founder and CEO of Spartz Media, now Dose (see the 2015 New Yorker profile: ‘The King of Clickbait’ for all you need to know about him). Though primarily aimed at the movie, memorabilia, and phone app-gaming focused tribes within the Hogwarts Horde, MuggleNet has hosted both the MuggleNet Academia and Reading, Writing Rowling podcasts and Beatrice Groves’ ‘Bathilda’s Notebook’ entries for serious readers of J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith.

The news? This website has been down without explanation since 13 December 2019.

The MuggleNet.com home page offers the following explanation:  [Read more…]

The Lake and The Shed: Rowling Reveals Her Writing Process

Here is a Christmas present for all serious readers of J. K. Rowling!

In a pre-recorded Christmas Special episode of BBC4’s ‘The Museum of Curiosity,’ during which not a single reference to Christmas is made (how long ago was this interview recorded?), Rowling donated ‘Inspiration’ to the imaginary museum for sale in their virtual gift shop. Along the way, she revealed bon mots about a book she was writing when inspired on the train to write Harry’s adventures, about her love of Dickens and his thoughts about ghosts and ideas, about why Harry Potter shouldn’t be taught in schools, and about why she couldn’t make a living as a strip-tease artist. Did I mention Rowling is writing a children’s book featuring a newly invented world, a work in progress, half-done?

Most important, though, she spoke about how she thinks about her writing process, a two-step journey of inspiration and perspiration, what she describes as ‘The Lake’ and ‘The Shed.’ I don’t doubt that listeners in the US and UK may have tuned in to see if she was going to comment on the Tweet Heard Round the World and the subsequent controversy (she does mention, with respect to an unrelated matter, having to turn in her “feminist card”). No luck there as this radio show was recorded ages ago, but her ‘Lake and Shed’ comments I’m confident will be referred to from this point forward in all discussions, popular and academic, of Rowling’s craft as writer.

As a gift from the Orthodox on the Feast of St Spyridon to the great horde of heterodox Gregorians on their ‘Christmas Day,’ I give y’all a transcript of Rowling’s remarks on this ‘Christmas Special’ radio show that never mentions Christmas. After the jump! Joyous Noel, Serious Readers! [Read more…]