Chestnut Hill Conference wrap-up!

The round-up podcast recorded at the Harry Potter Academic Conference is now posted at Reading, Writing, Rowling. Check it out and please comment. We;d love to hear from attendees and non-attendees.

Hunger Games Prequel Title Announced

I’m playing frantic catch-up on my non-Harry Potter life after a wonderful but busy build-up to Queen City Mischief and Magic, highlighted by a visit and multiple talks by our own John Granger. But, I had to make a brief post to announce that the Hunger Games prequel now has a title:  The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.  The cover has also been released.

We know the book will feature the Reaping for the 10th annual Games, and speculation is that we will see Mags chosen as District 4 tribute. The “Snake” in the title also suggests that a young Cornelius Snow will play a role.

Collins appears to be sticking with at least some elements that worked well in the first series books and movies, particularly the use of ballad motifs, a la The Hanging Tree and the Meadow Song. And the familiar bird-in-a circle is back, albeit a less mature-looking one, firmly encased in multiple rings and perching on a nest of thorns, in contrast to the gradual break-out of the series. 

Now would be a great time to look back on previous comments and speculate some more, while we wait for May.

Hat-tip to Mike G. 

Accio Knowledge! (And cookies!): Countdown to Queen City Mischief and Magic.

We are down to less than a week until the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, and the line-up of speakers rocks this year, starting with our own Headmaster.  I am going to be crazy busy this year, but I hope it will all be worth it.  I look forward to hosting John and hopefully impressing him with both Mary Baldwin University and Anthony and Cleopatra at the Blackfriars.

See full program here:

I like to bake special cookies for special occasions, and QCMM is no exception.  I usually do several batches of treats to hand out for trivia prizes and give as thank-you’s to our wonderful volunteers.  I spent most of yesterday with my rolling pin and Harry Potter cookie cutters, baking up some specialty treats.  My personal favorite is the Sorting Hat, made with an apple-cinnamon dough that is the perfect color.  A bonus:  no decorating needed!

Even better, my cookie-cutter collection is extensive enough that I can create some Potter-themed goodies with other cutters.  A Christmas reindeer becomes Prongs, a dog (in my favorite chocolate dough) makes a great Padfoot and I turned a train into the Hogwarts Express.  My newest edition is a fawn I ran across at Michael’s, which has become my Silver Doe.

I’m still looking for a cute frog cookie cutter for Chocolate Frog cookies, but in the meantime I’ll settle for my molds.  In addition to the Chocolate Frogs, I crushed up some candy mints and made some white Peppermint Toads.

If any of our regular Hogpro readers are coming to the festival, stop by the talks at MBU at the Wharf, next to Pufferbellies Toys (which is another place you don’t want to miss!) I’ll try to slip you a cookie, or possibly one of my Cauldron Cake Pops, from the speakers’ stash.

Emma Watson as Meg March: New “Little Women” Trailer Debuts

The trailer for the new Little Women movie has made its debut, and Harry Potter fandom is abuzz over Emma Watson playing the role of all-American protagonist Meg March. She apparently wasn’t the first choice for the role, and some have questioned whether she can pull off an American accent. Still, she looks beautiful, as always, and I have read comments comparing her pink ball gown to her Yule Ball attire.

What surprised me when I heard she was in the movie was her age.  Emma Watson is 29 years old, and playing a character who is roughly the same age as Hermione was in Deathly Hallows, which filmed a full decade ago.  When I first heard she was in the film, I thought, wow, she’s pretty young to be Marmee. Yes, Emma proved she could still do the young girl thing in Beauty and the Beast. But this is one of the biggest cinematic age mismatches since 33-year-old Stockard Channing played Rizzo in Grease.

Though since 39-year old Shirley Henderson pulled off Moaning Myrtle, and 11-year olds Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy are being played by actors in their mid-20’s onstage, I guess anything is possible.

I think it is interesting–and refreshing– that Emma Watson is continuing to embrace her wholesome young girl persona, when so many former child actresses are eager to move on to more adult (read: sexually explicit) roles.

While we wait for the Christmas season movie, let’s go back and read John Granger’s post on Harry Potter’s, and JKR’s connection to Little Women. 

Laugh out Loud with Reading, Writing, Rowling Episode 26: Harry Potter and Humor

What do “Gran’s on the run,” Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and the Rotfang conspiracy have in common?  They are all among the funniest elements highlighted by the podcasters of Reading Writing, Rowling. This is the show I have wanted to do for years.  Best of all, it’s only the first of two parts, so more to come!

Join me, Katy McDaniel, Emily Strand and Caitlin Harper for a discussion of how Rowling makes us laugh, and what the humor does for the Harry Potter series!