A Talk Forever Changing the Way We Think About the Artistry and Meaning of Rowling’s Harry Potter

Hard as it may be to believe, more than a decade after the first book and a month before the last movies are released, I think I have figured out Ms. Rowling’s chapter to chapter writing plan for each of her books, a story scaffolding at once more obvious and pervasive than the literary alchemy and distinctive Potter hero’s journey. It affects many, perhaps even most characters’ names and may be the ultimate source of the “triangular eye” of the Deathly Hallows symbol. It’s important enough that I’ve added it as a new “key” with a chapter all its own in my updated  Harry Potter Unlocked coming out this fall.

If you can’t wait for that and want to hear more about Ms. Rowling’s writing plan that shapes every chapter of every book as well as the way each book relates to the other novels in the series, I’ll be talking about it next week at New York City’s Samsung Experience in Time Warner Center in a lecture sponsored by America’s premiere fan Meet Up, ‘The Group That Shall Not Be Named.’

Details about the talk, the venue, and the cover of a new Potter Pundits talk and essay collection are below the jump!

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Mockingjay Discussion 22: Ring and Mirror Composition in the Hunger Games Series Finale

We have already noted that the plot point sequence of Mockingjay is consistent with Hunger Games story formula down to the chapter. What I missed in my first hurried read through the book was the story structure of the 27 chapters in Mockingjay specifically. In a nut shell, the series finale is a book whose last thirteen chapters mirror the first thirteen chapters and whose beginning, middle, and end points echo one another. Let’s look at exactly how this works with chapter line-ups and then discuss why Ms. Collins would bother with such artistry. [Read more…]

Chiastic Structure of the Novels?

Two very thoughtful men have weighed in on the chiastic structure of the Harry Potter books, a theory I think I first heard at Nimbus 2003. In brief, it is the idea that the novels are something of a circle or loop in which books 1 and 7, 2 and 6, and 3 and 5 are each a paired set and book 4 the “turning point” with elements of the three sets. The Red Hen has been discussing this sort of thing for some time with the rest of Fandom.

Pastor Joe Thacker has given his version a decidedly alchemical look and HogPro All Pro “Merlin” the Seminarian has pulled out all the stops in his exegesis over at Muggle Matters, which began here in 2006 and continues here this summer (scroll down to Thursday, June 14th: “The 3-4-5 Insanity Chiasm in the Harry Potter Series”). Both versions are worth your time, if only to begin (or review?) your thinking about how the books work as a series or one unit.

Contrary theories are welcome and will be posted, time allowing!