Mailbag: Revisiting the Albus-Severus Suicide Pact

A young reader wrote to me several weeks ago to thank me for my books and ask a question. He closed by saying he aspired to someday making his living by just reading, writing, and talking about Harry Potter, what he imagined was a “dream life.”

I couldn’t really encourage him in this aspiration — the Potter Pundit category is rapidly becoming a crowded space! — but he is right to say that my job, if you can call the time I spend as one of the Hogwarts Professors here a job, is delightful. Almost all of my interactions with serious readers in person, online, and by correspondence is edifying, enlightening, even challenging. I respond to all my mail, to my wife’s distress as I fall further behind on deadlines, even when it is only challenging.

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Mailbag: Questions About Literary Alchemy

I have been writing John Patrick Pazdziora the past two or three weeks on Narniad subjects and the last few days he has been peppering me with questions about literary alchemy. If you don’t know who Mr. Pazdziora is, stay tuned, because I hope he will be introducing himself soon enough. Though this exchange does not constitute anything like an introduction to the topic of literary alchemy as tradition and reader experience, I do think it is a helpful addition to the discussion of hermetic artistry in The Deathly Hallows Lectures. For those of you already familiar enough with the colors, sequences, and principal figures of alchemy, e.g., the Quarreling Couple, Philosophical Orphan, Alchemical Wedding, etc. from that and posts here, this Q&A back and forth between John Patrick in Scotland and John in Syracuse may help you grasp the sudden ubiquity of alchemy in today’s best sellers in the wake of Ms. Rowling’s juggernaut Hogwarts Saga.

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Mailbag: Hunger Games Movie, Lots of Links!

Stand by for The Hunger Games movie casting call! Suzanne Collins braced to just “let it go.” There’s a lot to let go, alas! H/T Arabella

You like YA Dystopian Novels? Dr. Amy H. Sturgis lists every one of note in the last fifty years — yow!

Quidditch World Cup pictures — check out the NYC games! H/T Toni G

Calgary Salvation Army: No Harry! No Edward! No Kidding! H/T  Marsha

Liam Neeson: “Aslan not a Christ figure but a multi-cultural, spiritual-not-religious icon.” Who knew? H/T RevGeorge

LA Times says a Harry Potter OSCAR is way overdue. Really? H/T Candice

And the same paper does a Luna Lovegood profile: ‘Actress says She was Born for Loopy Role’ Definitely.

Gamecock Fight in South Carolina about Harry Potter’s value as literature:

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Call For Papers: ‘The Power to Imagine Better’

There will be an academic conference at which serious readers of Harry Potter are welcome in late October next year on the campus of Marymount Manhattan College (Upper East Side, NYC). The aim is to foster discussion of the “philosophical themes” of the Hogwarts Saga but it is interdisciplinary in the sense that “submissions are welcome on any philosophical theme or issue arising in the Harry Potter corpus that intersects with metaphysics, ethics, religion, literature, and/or politics.” The premise, dear to readers of this site I think, is that this is a justified exercise both in light of the value of the work itself and because of its pervaviseness in the global culture, i.e., that Harry is our “Shared Text,” like it or not.

I’ve already checked my calendar to be sure I can go and blocked out the dates. I hope to see you all there! [The complete ‘Call For Papers’ with proposal, location, date, and contact specifics is below the jump.]

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Mailbag: Why is the Latin in Harry Potter So Bad?

Next question from the Contact tab Mailbox:

Dear Mr. Granger,

My parents and I saw The Deathly Hallows film last night. My dad (who has seen the movies but not read the books) had a comment. He is a little annoyed by the “obvious” or clunky use of Latin for all of the spells. To him, it sounds cutesy, as if kids are pretending to put together enchantments from little bits of pseudo-Latin roots. And why does it sound so, in a word, dumb?

Not being a Latin-speaker myself, I gave it my best shot and answered his complaint as well as I could. As you are a Latin teacher, however, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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