Reading, Writing, Rowling: Lethal White!

 

The Reading, Writing, Rowling podcast about Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White that I sat in on last month with host Kathy McDaniel and special guests Beatrice Groves and Louise Freeman has been posted on MuggleNet.com. It may not be the best of this program’s podcasts — how does one compare the quality of such things? — but it has my vote. Why?

I’m all but certain that the guests on this show are among the most serious Strike readers on the planet, I know because I was there that the conversation was fast, fun, and challenging, and the host kept us honest and the discussion rolling at a nice clip.  For Cormoran Strike fans, this is essential listening.

Check it out through the link embedded in the image above — and let me know what you think by clicking on ‘Leave a Comment’ up by the post’s headline. One good conversation should jump start another! I look forward to reading your opinions of this gang’s thoughts, predictions, and interpretations.

Reading, Writing Rowling: Potter Fests! ‘Festivals Which Shall Not Be Named’

There is a new ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast up at MuggleNet in which Prof Katy McDaniel speaks with profound Potter Pundit Lana Whited, editor of the seminal The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter and Minister of Magic for what was once the Roanoke Harry Potter Festival. They talk about Rowling, Inc.’s drive to control or just eliminate grass roots Potter Festivals on copyright grounds.

Tune in here for a delightful, informative, and challenging conversation!

Reading, Writing, Rowling 15: Quidditch!

J. K. Rowling tweeted out an answer last week to her least favorite subject — reader complaints about the scoring system of Quidditch — in which she explained that “it makes total sense.” Her conclusion was that “Quidditch is the human condition.” Right on schedule to explain that cryptic comment, Katy McDaniel has released a ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast on just this subject with two Quidditch experts.

From the write-up of the podcast at MuggleNet:

Do you skip over the Quidditch scenes in the Harry Potter novels? Katy and guest expert Emily Strand talk with author and wizard activist Caitlin Elizabeth Harper about the meaning of Quidditch – the sport from Queerditch Marsh – for the Harry Potter series. We look at the social and cultural value of the game in the wizarding world: its role in helping Harry feel connected to this new realm, shaping identities, and revealing the character of wizard society. But as a sport, Quidditch often frustrates readers who find it nonsensical and a sideline distraction from the main story. Emily and Caitlin both explain how central this sport really is to understanding the battle between good and evil in the wizarding world.

[Read more…]

Alohomora: Ring Composition, Part One

I have been podcasting at MuggleNet.com since 2011, first with Keith Hawk on a show called ‘MuggleNet Academia’ and now with Katy McDaniel on ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling.’ I do it because it is a lot of fun — the conversations with guests and the show host are almost always challenging and a delight — and because a lot more people listen to those podcasts than will ever read what I write here at HogwartsProfessor. MuggleNet is truly a global platform and it is a privilege to get to speak from it about Harry Potter, Cormoran Strike, and literature in general in this age which has largely been shaped imaginatively by the work of J. K. Rowling.

There are, of course, other podcasts on MuggleNet and much more popular and less ‘heady’ ones than those in which I participate. One of the most successful is ‘Alohomora.’ The team of podcasters there have recorded more than 250 episodes devoted to a chapter-by-chapter re-reading of the Hogwarts Saga; their following is sufficiently broad that they have advertisers, a paid producer, and a real presence at the website and Fandom.

Though I know all the principals on the show and have for some time, I had never been invited to join the crew for a talk about a specific chapter or topic. Until this month! Kat Miller and Company wanted to do a show on Ring Composition and I was the default subject matter expert. You can read about and listen to the show here: Ring Composition, Part One: It’s a WOW Thing

To anticipate your question, no, I don’t know if there will be a ‘Part Two’ to follow-up on this ‘Part One.’ That they do not mention anywhere in their write-up of the podcast that I was a guest speaker suggests that, if they do, I won’t be invited to participate!

Part One was a fun and firehose conversation, though, as none of the others knew the first thing about chiasmus or ring writing and its importance to Potter studies. Your boy Gilderoy obliged them with an hour long review and introduction to the subject.

Which maybe put them off? Maybe! The good news is that, if you haven’t got the time to read Harry Potter as Ring Composition and Ring Cycle, and want to learn a little more about story structure and Harry’s magic, this podcast will serve as an appetizer for the subject. Let me know what you think, even if you’ve read the book, of the podcast in the comment boxes below.

Is it possible I’ll ever be invited to ‘Speak Beasties,’ the MuggleNet Fantastic Beasts podcast franchise? 

 

Super Lethal White Speculation Podcast! Reading, Writing Rowling, Episode 14: Cormoran Strike – and Harry Potter?

Tuesday morning, just after midnight or later in the day when your bookstore opens for business, we’ll all be reading Strike 4, aka Lethal White, the latest Robert Galbraith Cormoran Strike whudunnit. I have the day off from my Muggle job Tuesday and, no, I won’t be answering email or cell phone calls. It’s like a throw back to Midnight Madness parties and the anticipation of a first reading of a Harry Potter novel… and those are happy memories for Rowling fans, right?

I will, of course, be posting on a daily basis here about Lethal White from late on the 18th and the days following for at least a month. Until Tuesday, though, what are we to do?

Marietta College’s History professor and Potter Pundit Katy McDaniel, the host of MuggleNet’s ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast anticipated our frustration in the waning moments of the Great Wait and recorded a conversation among three Strike Scholars, Karen Kebarle, Louise Freeman, and myself, about all things Cormoran with special emphasis on what we can expect in Lethal White. It was a ‘wow’ meeting of minds and I recommend it to anyone wishing for an appetizer beyond the excerpt teaser published yesterday in The Guardian.

Dr. McDaniel describes the podcast conversation this way:

J.K. Rowling’s second literary career as Robert Galbraith acts as a commentary on her Harry Potter series and also sets out on a new literary path. With guests Dr. Karen Kebarle and Dr. Louise Freeman, Katy and John examine the connections between the Harry Potter series and the first three Cormoran Strike novels. J.K. Rowling’s artistic signatures appear in the detective novels, in particular via the classical literary allusions that appear in both. Do apparent correspondences reveal more than just that the same mind created both Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike (or the reader’s tendency to see connections everywhere)? An understanding of mythology and ancient literature helps us ponder where the detective series might be headed in the fourth book, due out in mid-September.

Some fans have made the leap from Harry Potter to Cormoran Strike, but others have not. Our conversation explores why this second series has received less popular and scholarly attention, as well as the compelling qualities of the novels – the characters and relationships, plotting, descriptions of modern London, and themes – that have drawn us to them. We also contemplate the larger story arc: Is this essentially a romance between Cormoran and Robin? Does Strike have a “Moriarty” foil who will eventually become important? What will we learn about Cormoran’s father and mother?

Predicting where J.K. Rowling is heading with the series is tricky, but close readings of the previous books, her social media clues, Lethal White’s synopsis, and Rowling’s slow narrative release in the Harry Potter books point us in certain key directions. Do you think we got it right?

If that’s not enough, check out my post ‘Lethal White: What We Can Expect‘ and my most recent speculations about the White Horse idea with which Rowling has been teasing us vis a vis Lethal White in ‘Heroin Dark Lord.’

On Monday I’ll share my Day-Before-Publication ‘List of Ten Things that Have to Happen’ and my ‘Off-The-Wall Prediction List’ of the things I’d love to see in Lethal White. Let me know what you think of the MuggleNet podcast — and stay tuned for an exciting week of Strike posts here at HogwartsProfessor!