Harry Potter and the Sacramental Principle

As promised, here is the video of my talk for the Ohio State University’s Popular Culture and the Deep Past 2017: The World of Harry Potter (full conference report here). In the talk, I explain what I mean by “Christian sacramental principle” and argue that a particularly medieval expression of this same principle creates and supports the magical contours of Harry Potter’s world.

Please share your own thoughts on my thesis in the comments below, or dialogue with me on Facebook and Twitter (@ekcstrand).

Rowling Apologizes for Killing Snape

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts (which is incidentally, also the same day that Civil War General Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men at the Battle of Chancellorsville), J.K. Rowling, as has been her habit for the past few years, issued an apology for killing off a character. In the past, sharry-snapehe has apologized for the deaths of Fred Weasley and Remus Lupin, meeting great approval from those of us who still mourn those characters (Really. It’s almost time to start the read-aloud of Deathly Hallows with the younger child, and so I am already stocking up on tissues and hot cocoa). However, this year, she apologized not for killing a funny and beloved twin or a kindly and troubled teacher. She apologized for killing Severus Snape. A number of people seem to be very upset by this, as Rowling expected, by saying she was running for cover after making the comment. However, is it really so shocking? It all comes down to how we interpret “apologizing” in this context. Let’s look at a few interpretations at how they intersect with our responses as readers to the character of Snape. [Read more…]

The Luck of the Irish in the Wizarding World

As March winds down to a close, hopefully lamb-like, the month’s traditional decorations of shamrocks and leprechauns begin to come down, and, causing much sadness in mint fans across America, McDonald’s stops selling Shamrock Shakes.  Before we say goodbye to the month of green beer and PBS marathons of Riverdance specials, let’s take a peek at the way in which the Hogwarts saga has, rather like St. Patrick’s Day activities in general, has both celebrated the Irish and reinforced stereotypes and assumptions.

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Professor Grubbly-Plank visits Staunton, VA for annual Harry Potter Book Night

Harry Potter book night

Owl tableLast fall, the Staunton Public Library contacted me about doing a presentation for this year’s Harry Potter Book Night on Feb. 2nd. The theme was “The Professors of Hogwarts.”  I couldn’t really think of a fun activity for kids that stemmed directly from my work on Harry Potter and psychology; I had an feeling inducing Dementor-like depression or Moody-esque PTSD in the youngsters would be frowned upon.  So with my (reasonably) close-cropped and (increasingly) grey hair, I decided to don my academic gown and matching witch hat and appear as Professor Grubbly-Plank, healer of Hedwig and expert on owls. [Read more…]

A Groundhog Throwback! Revisiting Posts of the Past

Apparently, since the groundhog did behold his shadow, six more weeks of winter are on their way. Quite honestly, the groundhogs where I live could see the shadow of Elvis and we’d still be lucky Image result for groundhogtoImage result for groundhog day movie get off with only six more weeks of ice melt, mud, bitter cold, and static electricity that could easily torch a Zeppelin. However, in the spirit of things, since today is Groundhog Day, references will abound to the Bill Murray film about maximum déjà vu. It is also Thursday, which has become the day to post pictures of the past. In honor of those two  events colliding, I thought it would be fun to re-visit some past posts that I really enjoyed writing and which, since they were some time ago, some of our newer Hogwarts Professor readers might have missed. So, turn that alarm clock back a few years, Mr. Murray, and let’s relive a few past posts that may ignite new conversations!

 

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