PDay Minus Five: Prediction #3 “Mistaken Identities”

Monday of Potter Week and we’re up to the third Five Keys Prediction for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This one will cause a lot of eyeball rolling and dilatory disputation, if the latter is possible when much of Deathly Hallows has supposedly been posted online, because the subject of “Mistaken Identities” is not a “no-brainer,” especially when it comes to naming names.

Here, then, is my disclaimer about these predictions.

I’m not a brilliant writer of fiction as is Ms. Rowling and I am not a wizard. When I make predictions, consequently, I’m not doing this with the serious intention of hitting bulls eyes. I’m firing at a target in a dark forest, and, while the target is fixed, not moving, I can’t see it and I don’t know where it is. I’ll be delighted and as surprised as anyone if I am correct in the details of any of my predictions. Outside of a few “hits” in the past (Snape as Half-Blood Prince, Ron and Ginny as “Quarreling Couple,” Death of Dumbledore, weather predictions, etc.), all my plot point predictions have been wrong.

Why do I bother?

My intention in making these predictions is to illustrate the Five Keys that open up or “unlock” Harry Potter for the serious reader. I’ve tried to make the best-guesses fun and engaging, even credible because they are detailed rather than formless generalities, but they’re just mind-grabbing illustrations of the Five Keys. The specifics are almost certainly wrong but the Five Keys the predictions exemplify are very valuable (read Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader to see what I’m talking about!).

Back to “Mistaken Identities.”

In the “Hero’s Journey” chapter of Unlocking Harry Potter, I detail the repeated cycles, patterns, and story points that Ms. Rowling uses in most every book. One of the most interesting of the story points that she uses is “Mistaken Identities.” The existence of Polyjuice Potion, Animagi, and simpler Transfiguration spells mean that Hogwarts School specifically (and the Wizarding World in general) is not a place where you can be sure the person you’re speaking with or just seeing is the person you think you’re seeing or talking to. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Seven (Bastille Day, 2007)– Prediction #1: Deathly Hallows Will Be Very Much Like the First Six Harry Potter Novels

Before I get into the sublimely risible business of making predictions about what we will learn in Ms. Rowling’s finale to her Harry Potter magnus opus, let me make a few guesses that I would bet my daughter’s flute on [I would have said “the family cars” but the flute cost more than our cars….]

(1) The Steve Vander Ark Prediction: Harry Potter “Big Name Fandomers” come in three main tiers. The third tier are the many writers and bloggers who have created followings on the internet via their fan-fiction and better-than-the-average-bear speculations. The second tier is the gaggle, ever growing, of book writers and featured speakers at conferences. The first layer of the hierarchy, those just below Ms. Rowling herself and the players in the films made from her books, are those who lead the fan sites that get hundreds of thousands of hits a day — and whom the publicity folks at Warner Brothers and Bloomsbury and Scholastic court.

The Triumvirate of this upper crust are Lexicon Steve, MuggleNet Emerson, and Leaky Melissa. [Read more…]

Questions from a Newspaper Reporter: A HogPro All-Pro Event

800 miles in the car yesterday so I’m whupped! I hope to comment on some length about Accio Quote Lisa’s thoughts on Harry and Aeneas when I’m human again, but, until then, here are some questions sent by a newspaper reporter today (obviously from the religious beat; he doesn’t ask about Deathly Hallows until the very end).

Please send in your answers to whichever question or questions that you want. Thanks in advance for starting your post with the question or at least the number of the question you are answering.

Your incentive? The “HogPro All-Pro” who sends in the most interesting answers will (1) have their name engraved on the HogPro All-Pro trophy here in my office (The Mundungus Cup, which serves as both a Big Gulp drinking cup and, in a pinch, as ash-tray; you’ll just get a silly certificate) and (2) receive one free copy of Richard Abanes’ new book, Homeland Insecurity. It’s a novel and enjoyable like nothing else of his that I have ever read. Steve Vander Ark, to whom I gave a copy at Sonorus 2007, was ecstatic; like me, Steve owns a copy of everything Mr. Abanes has written and he agrees that Homeland Insecurity is a “must-have” for all Potter bibliophiles.

So, have at it! May the wildest HogPro win! Decisions of the judges in this contest will be arbitrary and final. Immediate family members of Osama bin Laden are prohibited from entering; let them buy their copy of Homeland Insecurity. Management is not responsible for accidents consequent to loss of sleep involving readers who begin this novel late at night. [Read more…]

Big News Day at HogPro

Yesterday was an event-filled day for Hogwarts Professor! News regarding The New York Times, The Arts and Entertainment Network, two Harry Potter Conferences, and changes at the Zossima Press website — not to mention that a friend won a world-wide Fandom contest…. Here is a brief catch-up with the news in this cyber corner of the PotterVerse:

(1) Article in the New York Times

Ms. Tomoko Rich contacted me on Monday for a Times story she was writing on tight deadline about spoilers and speculation in the frenetic countdown to the release of Deathly Hallows. We talked for about half an hour about various theories and why I thought people were so involved in the stories (the question I try to answer in each of my books). If you haven’t read Defenders of Secrets, Unite!, it’s a fun read highlighting the omnipresent Emerson and Melissa and their battle with folks trying to spoil the delight of Deathly Hallows for all of us. I am mentioned at the tail end of the article:

John Granger, a professor of Latin and English at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa., has written two books about the series and edited a third called “Who Killed Albus Dumbledore” that is filled with predictions.

He also runs a discussion group at HogwartsProfessor.com. “I’ve seen really intelligent, really literate women and men discuss these points and provide more than cogent arguments that Snape is X, Y or Z, and they all make sense in terms of all the clues she’s given in the book,” Mr. Granger said. “This has probably been the most fun that intelligent people can have with their clothes on in the 21st century.”

No doubt this article, because it mentions HogPro, has brought a few new readers to this site (it certainly boosted sales of Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, Unlocking Harry Potter, and even Hidden Key to Harry Potter from 2002!). To those readers, “Welcome!” If you’re looking for HogPro’s Greatest Hits, here is a quick menu: [Read more…]

The Potter-saurus: 1,500 Words HP Readers Need to Know

Eric Randall, an editor and journalist whose work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, USA Today, and the like, has written a fun book that I know my family will be using on car trips for a long time. It’s called The Pottersaurus: 1,500 Words Harry Potter Readers Need to Know and what it is is a delightful collection of the “big words” in Joanne Rowling’s oversized books. Arranged alphabetically, each word has a definition and at least one citation from a Harry Potter novel. Here’s one example, chosen randomly:

Pirouette — A spin in place. Crabbe did a pirouette in midair at the Shrieking Shack after Harry, hidden by his Invisibility Cloak, threw a stick at his back. (PA, Ch. 14) Hermione did a graceful pirouette while practicing to apparate. (HBP, Ch. 22)

My children love this stuff. They’ve been immunized sufficiently that they flee from school work dressed up as a game but they love explaining words that their parents don’t think they’ll be able to define. Best is catching dad with a britishism, though… Who knew a “pouf” was a “footstool or couch with no back”? I thought they were throw cushions.

Even better, Mr. Randall has a Pottersaurus website where you can play Word Quidditch. Forgive me for confessing that I played it between classes one day, just to hear the cheering sound effect for a few minutes (I’m not getting much of that from my cadets at the end of the year).

Highly recommended for families and for parents needing a good cheer!