Rowling Offers ‘Lethal White’ Play List: Andrea Ross’s ‘White Horses’ For Robin

Go right to the source and ask the horse,

He’ll give you an answer that you endorse.

We here at Hogwartsprofessor have been chomping at the bit for three years waiting for Lethal White, and speculating about the title meaning since we heard it. Beatrice Groves has done a marvelous investigation of all possible white horse connections: from art, to Biblical imagery to poetry to archeology. Not having her knowledge–see my decidedly un-scholarly epigraph, above–I’m going to share something from “Mr. Galbraith’s” recent interview in the New York Times. The reclusive veteran thoughtfully provided a playlist for the novel.

There are eight songs or pieces of music mentioned in the novel that should be on the playlist: “Cutt Off” by Kasabian , “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley , “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling , Rihanna’s “Where Have you Been,” “ Ni**as In Paris” by Kanye West and Jay-Z and “Oliver Twist” by D’Banj , “Black Trombone” by Serge Gainsbourg and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, C Minor .

I’d add “So Long Marianne” by Leonard Cohen for Strike and Charlotte, “Heroes,” by David Bowie for the Olympic backdrop and “White Horses” by Andrea Ross , not only for the book’s leitmotif, but for Robin, and a romantic, innocent girl’s idea of adventure and freedom. (emphasis added)

After I got over my delight at seeing the phrase “Olympic backdrop,” I started looking up some of the songs.  When I googled “White Horses lyrics,” I landed not on the Andrea Ross tune, but White Horse, by Taylor Swift.  Check out these prophetic words:

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The WSJ Op-Ed on Young Adult Fiction that made Rita Skeeter look Impressive

Last June, I had the privilege of being invited to attend and present at the first, and I hope annual, Summit on the Research and Teaching of Young Adult Literature in Las Vegas. I attended many fine
talks from authors, educators and researchers, met Dr. Kia Richmond, who has written a book on mental illness in young adult literature and gave a talk on PTSD in young adult literature, including Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Perhaps most exciting aspect was the opportunity to speak about PTSD in Laurie Halse Anderson‘s Speak and The Impossible Knife of Memorywith the author herself in the audience. Luckily for me, Ms. Anderson was both gracious with her comments and generous with her support for my work, in addition to being an all-around very cool person.

They say any publicity is good publicity, so I suppose the Summit organizer, Dr. Steven Bickmore, should have been glad to see the event as the subject of a Wall Street Journal editorial. However, the WSJ author, Steven Salerno, chose to devote 723 of 782 words of his column to criticizing the Summit, three of its guest authors and their books, for the crime of depicting a world  “spinning off its axis” with overly dark tales of dystopia, mental illness, racism, and other signs of depravity. Like theHarry Haterswho decried the Potter books as a gateway to the occult without even a cursory reading that would have detected traditional Christian symbolism and pro-social themes, Salerno apparently formulated his opinion without attending the summit or interviewing the attendees he quoted. Instead, he appears to have pulled all of his information from other published summaries. Rita Skeeter, for all her faults, at least made a pretense of speaking to a few Harry’s, Bathilda’s and Pansy’s before misrepresenting their words and  twisting them to fit the scandalous story she had already decided to tell. [Read more…]

Harry Potter and the Commemorative Ornaments

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at my house, given that we typically put our tree and other decorations up right after Thanksgiving. And yes, the Boy Who Lived has a place in my holiday decor.

Several years ago, after it was clear that Harry and friends would be a long term part of my personal and professional life, my mom began giving me Hallmark Harry Potter ornaments. Hallmark has been releasing these annually since 2000, and Mom has thus far managed to track down most on Ebay.  Harry-themed ornaments were not something I would ever have thought of getting for myself, but now that I have them, I love putting them up every Christmas.  When it became clear that they would all get lost in the eclectic jumble that is my family’s normal Christmas tree, I got them their own wrought-iron table-top version.  I thought I would devote this post to sharing a few favorites.

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Chestnut Hill Wins House Cup for Ravenclaw, as Always.

Chestnut Hill College had its 6th annual Harry Potter Conference last weekend. This was the fourth time I have attended and and my third time as a session moderator. Doubtlessly, the conference has established itself as the major venue of serious Potter scholarship. Attendance is a must for any student seeking a N.E.W.T. in Hogwarts Studies.

I arrived late to the high school student section on Thursday night, thanks to horrendous traffic in the area, so I only heard a paper and a half, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I did hear. I wish I could have heard the full paper on Harry Potter and animals. since it seemed to fit well with my work on depictions of nature in the series. And the final paper, on how the depiction of Ginny Weasley changed from book to film, won second place honors.

More on the main section after the jump. [Read more…]

Is There Scientific Evidence that the Factions of Divergent are Meaningful?

There’s a little bit of Gilderoy Lockhart in all academics. Every once in a while, I am vain enough to do a Google search to see if anyone is talking about my research. Imagine my delight when, last January, I ran across two conference papers, from 2014 and 2015, by Brazilian psychologist Dr. Bruno Campello de Souza. Souza, and colleague Dr. Antonio Roazzi, apparently tried to match people’s Divergent Factions (as determined by the relatively simple 7-question Faction quiz published in the e-book) with the Five Factors and numerous other traits such as IQ, values, and professions. They also, to my delight and surprise, cited my Hogwarts Professor post as a reference, which, I believe, is a first.

While my understanding of the 2014 paper was limited–it’s in Portuguese–the 2015 paper had apparently partially confirmed my idea, linking Candor with Extroversion, and Erudite with Openness to Experience. Abnegation, interestingly, linked not only with Conscientiousness, but also with Agreeableness and Stability. The latter fits nicely with my characterization of the old Dauntless at the Stable end of the Neurotic domain, and the new Dauntless at the Instability end. Remember Tobias’s theory that bravery and unselfishness are the same thing and his remark that he could have just as easily been in Abnegation? Dauntless did not link with Neuroticism, but that did not surprise me, given that split nature of that faction, and its tendency to attract both the highly stable (Tobias) and unstable (Eric, Al, Peter). Amity did also not line up with Agreeableness, but you can’t have everything.  [Read more…]