‘Alchemists Everywhere!’ A HogsHead PubCast

Part 1 of the conversation I had with Travis Prinzi about literary alchemy is up at The Hog’s Head. Mr. Prinzi, author of Harry Potter and Imagination, and I have been talking publicly and privately for years about alchemical symbolism in Ms. Rowling’s fiction but this PubCast exchange centers on the remarkable explosion of excellent work — and also the most popular series of novels in print today — all of which feature traditional alchemical story scaffolding: not only Harry Potter, but Twilight and The Hunger Games as well. We try to explain why this is happening and why the alchemical formulae work across widely divergent genres, auctorial focus, and themes as well as they do. Tune in!

Guest Post: Elizabeth Hardy Takes ‘A Bird’s Eye View: Birds in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games’

“O The Cuckoo, she’s a pretty bird,

And she warbles as she flies,

She never says cuckoo,

Til the fourth day of July”

“The Cuckoo” Traditional Appalachian song

A Bird’s Eye View: Birds in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games

The music of Appalachia is woven though with references to birds and their songs, echoing through the tunes as the notes warble out through the forests and meadows of the ancient mountain chain. As a product of what was once called Appalachia and still retains many of its physical and cultural characteristics, Katniss Everdeen lives in a world permeated by the sight and sound of avian creatures, so it is natural that her story should be one filled with birds serving a variety of functions both practical and symbolic. [Read more…]

The Hunger Games ‘Pearl Plot,’ version 2.0

[Nota Bene: This post was written before Mockingjay was published! Please enjoy it as the speculative exercise it was, if you like, and then read the many posts that were written about the artistry and meaning of the series after we had the finale in hand. Writing comments on this thread that do not reflect those later posts, especially those questioning the author’s intelligence (!) because of what we know now but did not know then, is an exercise in self-important vanity and will be deleted.]

I will be writing about Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy in this post, and, specifically, I will be talking about the first two books in that series as well as speculating about the finale. Fair warning: if you choose to read this before reading Hunger Games and Catching Fire, if you read a book for the first time (at least) preferring to experience the story without knowing the details of story events or how it turns out, proceeding with this post will almost certainly “spoil” your first reading of those books. For those who have read Hunger Games and Catching Fire, though, this should be a lot of fun. [Read more…]

Unlocking ‘The Hunger Games’: The Surface, Moral, Allegorical, and Sublime Meanings

[Please note that this post was written in 2010 before Mockingjay was published. For an updated discussion of the series in light of the finale, including the alchemical, allegorical, and anagogical meanings, please head over here. Enjoy!]

If you haven’t read the first two books of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and you don’t want to read the plot points of those stories before you’ve read the books (“spoiling” them), have a nice day. If you have read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire or you’re interested in a discussion of how to use traditional tools of literary analysis to understand contemporary fiction, then you are in the right place. Find yourself a beverage to your liking and pull up a chair.

Last Sunday, in a post called ‘Who is the Mockingjay?‘, I put forward a theory that the wife of the District 12 mayor, Mrs. Donner-Undersee was the mastermind-puppeteer behind the Mockingjay story being written within the Capitol’s Hunger Games. Many readers have embraced the idea, at least as many have objected to the theory, and I have spent most of the past week answering questions about and objections to it (see here and here and here and here). [Thank you to Arabella, JSavant, Ellie, Ally, all my friends at HungerGamesTrilogy.com and everyone else who checked in with ideas, comments, and corrections.] My task tonight is to explain the premises of my speculation before rolling out the 2.0 version of what I believe Arabella first called the “Pearl Plot.”

Got that beverage? Then let’s get started. [Read more…]

Welcome to the All-New HogwartsProfessor.com!

I suppose it looks the same but, really, this site is changing a lot.

I’ve neglected this weBlog for weeks because I’ve been on the other Professor blog I write, ForksHighSchoolProfessor, promoting Spotlight on Twilight, and reading non-Potter titles, most notably, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. That didn’t leave much time for more Potter reading, thinking, and writing than the preps I have to do for The Leaky Cauldron’s PotterCast Potter Pundit segments.

But late last week I realized I should focus all my public writing time in one spot — and of course that spot is here.

What that means for you if you’re a HogwartsProfessor regular (‘HogPro All-Pro,’ get the coffee-cup, t-shirt, and hoodie) or newbie is many more posts on a lot more subjects. [Read more…]