Divergent Movie: First Impressions

It was a beautiful snowy night in beautiful downtown Staunton, Virginia, when, inspired by Elizabeth Baird Hardy’s outings with her Hunger Games readers, a colleague and I went with about 60 Mary Baldwin psychology students to see Divergent at  the historic Dixie theater.  Granted, it was March 25th, a few days after the movie’s big opening weekend, and, at that time of year, a beautiful spring evening would have been far more appropriate, but that wasn’t going to spoil our fun.

Judging from both the turnout for the film and the comments afterwards, this was a movie the students were eagerly anticipated and which lived up to their expectations.  Since my colleague is teaching personality psychology this term, we could not resist indoctrinating them on the Five Factor Hypothesis. But, with their finals coming up in only a couple of weeks, I figure the odds of the students remembering what O.C.E.A.N stands for are a bit more in their favor now.  At least two students have told me they were inspired to read the series now, which is always a desirable outcome.

Spoilers, ho!

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Another Hogwarts Professor Study: Readers of YA Fiction

Dr. Louise Freeman of the Mary Baldwin Psychology Department seeks readers of young adult fiction for a personality study. This study will require you to fill out a brief (15 minute) personality survey. Participants must be at least 13 years old and a fluent speaker of English. The study is approved by the Institutional Review Board of Mary Baldwin College.   Many thanks for your help!

Young Adult Literature Conference and Seminar

Registration opens soon for a Young Adult Literature Conference and Seminar at Louisiana State University, to be held June 2-6 for interested middle and high school teachers, graduate students, academics and other scholars interested in Young Adult Literature.  I will be teaching one of the short courses: Divergent Thinking: Psychology and Neuroscience as Keys to Understanding Roth’s Dystopian World and presenting a breakout session on some Harry Potter related topic.  I am sure the website will be listing the rest of the topics and sessions soon.

Please let me know if any Hogpro regulars would like to attend!

Survey for Divergent fans

Louise Freeman is conducting another survey on empathy, this time for fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.  Please help out by going to this link and answering 15-20 minutes worth of questions.  Anyone 13 years old or older and a native speaker of English is eligible!  Many thanks!

“Heavensbee? Heavensbee?” On the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Sad news this morning that Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Hunger Games‘ movie franchise’s Plutarch Heavensbee was found dead this morning at the age of 46,  of an apparent drug overdose. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.

Mr. Hoffman had received many accolades for his film roles and his portrayal of the Gamesmaker-turned-revolutionary was one of the many welcome additions to Catching Fire. He had been set to reprise the role in Mockingjay.

I don’t know how far along the filming for the first Mockingjay was, but it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers cope with the loss.  Recast the role?  Kill off the character, perhaps introducing his assistant Fulvia Cardew to take his place as Propos-maker in District 13?  Even more interesting would be to take one of their other popular Capitol figures, like Claudius Templesmith or Caesar Flickerman and have them turn traitor and join the revolution as part of the rebel’s PR team.

Can anyone think of any other creative solutions?  This is certainly a bigger challenge than the loss of “Crabbe” for Deathly Hallows, Part II.

Update: Lionsgate has released a statement that Hoffman’s work on the Mockingjay films was nearly complete. So, perhaps the filmmakers will be able to piece it together, a la Brandon Lee in The Crow.