Harry Potter Maven on Strike: Writers Guild HogPro All-Pro Janet Batchler

I finally met Janet Batchler early last summer after a few years of correspondence and almost daily exchanges on the old HogPro boards. New Wave Entertainment had asked the two of us and Lexicon Steve to come to Burbank, CA, to be interviewed for an A&E Special, “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” I thought Janet, because of her beauty, clarity of expression, and command of canon (I hope you bought and read her What Will Harry Do? Payoffs and Possibilities in Book 7 before Deathly Hallows), was the best part of that show. In June, we met again at Sonorus 2007 in the desert above Los Angeles, where she, Steve, and I did a group Q&A with some of the most thoughtful and insightful members of Fandom I spoke with before Deathly Hallows made the scene. Janet was a hit there, too, and I looked forward to seeing her in Toronto at Prophecy 2007.

But there seems to have been a curse on the folks who were interviewed for “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” Steve Vander Ark’s drama is being played out on the world stage as his efforts to publish the Lexicon have been challenged by Ms. Rowling in court. I have moved twice in four months, if, by your prayers, that has been the extent of the curse’s touch on me. Janet Batchler has not been so lucky. [Read more…]

Time’s Person of the Year, 2007: Ms. Rowling, in a Landslide?

This is a delight. Time Magazine, as a run-up to its annual selection of the Person of the Year, has posted a reader ballot on its website. Here’s how they explain the voting:

Now it’s your turn to tell us who is really the most important person of 2007. Should it be a Nobel Prize winning former Vice President or quite possibly the future first woman President? Is the rabble-rousing President of Iran a more deserving choice, or what about the man behind the iPhone? Vote for your choice, though the editors reserve the right to disagree. Their selection will be announced in the December 31st issue of TIME, on sale Dec. 21.

You’ll note they don’t mention “best selling novelist of our time, whose series finale held the imagination of the world captive for much of 2007 and a movie made from a previous book broke box office records.” They didn’t include Ms. Rowling in the lead paragraph, but they won’t be able to ignore her in the results. The voting as of 14 November put Ms. Rowling well out in front of the politicos and entrepreneur Time thought would head the list: [Read more…]

Harry Potter as “Shared Text”: Books and Meaning that will Define a Generation?

True Story from Carnegie Hall: “Main Line Boy Meets JK Rowling”

This newspaper story about a young man that won a seat in Carnegie Hall the night of Ms. Rowling’s reading and Q&A last month is worth reflecting on and re-reading. Not only what happens to him but his understanding and description of the night in New York are also instructive and challenging. Please let me know what you think.

Main Line Boy Meets JK Rowling
by Phyllis Rubin
Main Line Life

Danny Garfield, lifelong resident of the Penn Wynne section of Wynnewood, was home alone after school. His older sister was at a sports practice and both his parents were working. He was 13 and it was a few days before his Bar Mitzvah. He is tall for his age, with long hair and an engaging smile, giving him the appearance of an older teen.

His dog wanted to go out. As Danny opened the door, something told him to check the gates in the yard, and sure enough, one was open. He rushed outside, closed the gate before the dog got away, and, feeling relieved, went inside. As he reentered the house, he realized he had missed a phone call, since someone was leaving a message. He listened. [Read more…]

Ms. Rowling says Ministry of Magic is the Blair and Bush Governments in Story Form

Keith Olbermann of Countdown television show fame is a big Harry Potter fan. He had the distinction of introducing Ms. Rowling to the crowd at Carnegie Hall and to speaking with her backstage before the event. As you might expect, they talked politics and they are kindred souls of the left. On his show Monday night this week, he shared this bon mot:

OLBERMANN: There was something even more startling [than the Dumbledore revelation], which she had told me, and then hinted at with the audience, the political subtext of the entire Harry Potter series…. Lost in all that [Dumbledore information], what Miss Rowling said backstage, then touched upon again to here young readers. First, she told me the parallels between the Mystery of Magic and its false sense of omniscience and the conduct of the American and British governments were no inferences. She had put them there. She then said on stage the books are, quote, a plea for an end to hatred, to bigotry and a lesson for kids and everybody else to question authority. You should not assume the establishment tells you the truth.

In his conversation with Chris Cillizza, he went on with this political lead: [Read more…]