Guest Post: Bloodsport in Harry Potter & The Hunger Games (P. Wayne Stauffer)

f39083302A Guest Post from P. Wayne Stauffer! Enjoy!

Spanning centuries, sport competitions likely arose initially as preparation to repel invasion or assault by lawless groups/individuals or as a survival strategy; the idea being to stay in a continual state of physical and mental readiness to repel those who would attack to destroy life and property. They also likely involved elements of competition for prizes when not a part of military defense or conquest, the spoils of conquest being another form of prize.

It is significant to distinguish between physical competitions as good-natured challenges for the sake of competition and those that function as rehearsal for the purposes of injuring, disabling, maiming, or killing the opponents in preparation for military combat or aggression against others. Curbing or sublimating aggressive tendencies would be the goal of the former, while unleashing them would be the goal of the latter.

f38696422In addition to the more obvious physical and mental conditioning these “games” provide, the gradual shift in thinking in society as a whole towards acceptance of increasingly aggressive and brutal action is also important to consider. Some wonder if fiction like the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games trilogy take us further into accepting violence or aggressive behavior.  

The common meaning of “bloodsport” involves shedding blood and/or killing an animal or person. The objective of the encounter is to make the opponent bleed or die. Many sporting activities may have a side effect of spilled blood or physical injury as a part of the game (being hit in the face by a basketball and getting a bloody nose), wherein bloodsport competitions include an intent to shed the opponent’s blood as part of the strategy (punching a boxing opponent in the face and spilling blood can obscure his vision and impair his ability). However, competitions for the purpose of killing an opponent remain illegal in most modern, civilized societies.

Such “games” have been played for millennia, so a look at some can give us perspective. [Read more…]

Once More into the Games, Dear Friends, Once More! Mockingjay Part 2 Flies into Theaters

The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-2-Final-PosterFor the past four years, a wonderful local theater, the Yancey in Burnsville, has graciously hosted the readers of Mayland Community College for our own showing of the newest installment of the Hunger Games film adaptations. On Friday, November 20, once again the theater played the movie just for us, and, as we took in this, the last of the films based on Suzanne Collins’s remarkable trilogy, I once again toted my notebook and pen (along with lots of tissues) to collect my thoughts to share with you here.  So, the pieces are in place; the countdown has begun. Let’s enter the arena, one last time, to see how the conclusion of this epic and complex tale survived its journey to screen. (Fair warning: this detailed review contains major plot elements.)

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Blog on Psychology and Young Adult Literature

NecklaceI just did my second guest post on the YAWednesday blog, (albeit in a special Friday edition for the Mockingjay premiere) on how psychology and YAL inform each other.  References to Harry, Katniss and Tris abound, as well as shout-outs to reader favorites like Mugglenet Academia, the Chestnut Hill conference and Hogwartsprofessor.com itself.

This is a great blog for students, teachers or anyone interested in the most critically acclaimed YAL out there.  New posts every Wednesday by scholars and writers, plus information on conferences and new publications.

A Hogwarts Psychology Professor Counts Down to Mockingjay: Part Three of Hunger Games and PTSD

My video series wraps up with a look into the neuroscience of hijacking, and how feasible the process could be in the future. Learn about how memories are being created and re-written in laboratory mice, and how this technology can be used for good, or for evil.

A Hogwarts Psychology Professor Counts Down to Mockingjay! Part Two of Hunger Games and PTSD

The second in my video series talks about the various attempts to cure Peeta of his hijacking, and what that tells us of modern therapies for PTSD.  Will Prim, the Doogie Howser of District 13, turn out as much of a psychological prodigy as she is in medicine?  View and see!