Choice, Free Will, and The Prophecy

PDF Transcript of Choice, Free Will, and the Trelawney Prophecy

Link to Potter Pundits Online Survey: “What One Question Would You Ask Me?”

Exciting times! Next week is the launch of a fifteen years effort, online classes for serious readers of Harry Potter, classes that are affordable, interactive, accessible, and even alchemical, and I am over the top delighted that it is finally happening.

Today’s video entry is about another meme in the way we think of Harry Potter — that the Hogwarts Saga is a celebration of choice as the gauge of character and token of our free will to shape our lives and events — and how that is certainly true but still deceptive without some serious qualifications. Please let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!

AND! Because we’re just about to start filming the Potter Pundit Summer School free classes and live Q&A webinar midstream that will launch next Sunday (they’ll be available by subscription only for two weeks at; I’ll explain how that works in the next few days), I want to be sure I’m talking about what you want to discuss, I have put together a 20 multiple choice question survey. I sufficiently eager and grateful for your prompt feedback that I’m offering a $100 Amazon gift card I’ll be giving away in a drawing from the names of those who fill it out (it takes less than five minutes).

Click the link above or right here to take the survey and to let me know what you want to hear in the free online classes that will be available starting next Sunday. Affordable, interactive, accessible, even alchemical Hogwarts Magic! At last! Thank you again for your help in making sure these first classes answer the questions you have.

Is Harry Potter a Schoolboy Novel?

PDF Transcript of Is Harry Potter a Schoolboy Novel? A Parody?

This talk, first posted at, is the fourth in a series about the unexamined ideas about Harry Potter that shape and, as often as not, restrict our thinking about the series.

Today we discuss the idea that Harry Potter’s adventures are best understood as Schoolboy fiction, say, something like Thomas Hughes’ Tom Brown Schooldays or Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers, or a combination of this genre and one other, maybe ‘fairy tales’ or ‘High Fantasy.’

They are, of course, all that — but not just that. Have a look-and-listen or read the transcript above — and then let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about Fate and Free Will in Harry Potter and whether ‘Choice’ is the be all and end all many think it is. And I’ll be sharing news and dates for the Potter Pundit Summer Camp, four free classes in which I answer your questions about the world’s best selling novels. Talk with you then!

Is Harry Potter One Story or Seven?

Potter Pundits Summer School, four free online classes with yours truly and a live webinar for Q&A, will be rowling out in a little over a week. To get you ready for that, I’ll be posting my videos here at HogwartsProfessor this week. Look for a survey about what you want to be sure I cover in those classes in your inboxes later this week!

We started a conversation last week about unexamined and prevalent Harry Potter ideas that shape our understanding of The Boy Who Lived’s seven adventures while also obscuring other ways of seeing them. That first post in the series revealed the obvious advantages and the not-so-obvious disadvantages of looking at the series as Children’s Literature (‘Kid Lit’). Check it out here if you are joining us mid-stream and missed that.

Today let’s talk about the idea of Harry Potter as seven distinct, stand-alone novels. We know there’s an over-arching story that connects them, especially after the return of the Dark Lord in Goblet of Fire, but is it really, as Rowling has said, just one story in seven parts? What does the predominant idea of the books as a seven part series obscure in the artistry and meaning of the work?

Quite a bit actually! Let me know what you think by shooting me an email at John at HogwartsProfessor dot com or just writing a comment in the boxes below.

Click Here for transcripts of ‘Is Harry Potter’ One Story or Seven Different adventures?

Click here for pdf ‘Top Twelve Rowling Story Sources Every Potter Pundit Needs to Read (and Re-Read)’

Rune Magic in Fantastic Beasts? I Wish

A long time reader and frequent correspondent sent me a note this morning encouraging me to watch a YouTube video about the likelihood of Runic Magic becoming a major plot element in J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts movie series. It’s called Runes, Nordic mythology and Durmstrang in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movies The video is a relatively short view at twelve minutes but I think, alas, it was about ten minutes too long in terms of reward-per-viewing-minute.

Color me ‘skeptical,’ even shades of ‘dismissive’ on this speculative leap about runes, which, truth be told, I wish were true and think would be consistent with the base-line idea of Rowling’s Wizarding World and it’s “magical parameters.”

Here’s the thing.

With the exception of the Pentagram Room and background visual-noise created by MinaLima, what evidence is there of any runic magic in Beasts or for the speculations in this video? And the MinaLima artistry, engaging as it is, seems to have been created independently of script mentions or direction. Which is to say, not from any instruction we have in the published ‘Original Screenplay.’ Not that I’m embracing that version of the screenplay as authoritative, original, or final!

I love ‘out there’ speculation, as you know, about where, figuratively speaking, the series writing of J. K. Rowling – Potter, Strike, or Beastie — may be headed. I’d be much more comfortable, however, even enthusiastic with this leap into the abyss about Runes and Durmstrang if it was based on something, anything more textual and Rowling-related than two Icelandic actors and MinaLima magically resonant wallpaper flourishes. [Read more…]

Amy Sturgis Edits ‘Apex’ Special Issue

Premiere Potter Pundit and Friend of this Blog Dr. Amy H. Sturgis has edited a special issue of Apex, “a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field.”

Prof Sturgis, as many of you know, is a published authority on Rowling, Tolkien, and Lovecraft, on American history, on dystopian and science fiction, all things Star Wars, fandoms and cross-media adaptationsand Native American subjects. Which is to say, the closest thing to a Renaissance scholar I know.

She was a frequent guest on MuggleNet Academia because her areas of expertise were relevant in every other episode we recorded (not to mention that she is brilliant, funny, and super savvy about what works on podcasts). The MNet show, ‘Harry Potter and the Indian in the Cupboard,’ which featured her insights about Rowling’s gaffes in her PotterMore ‘History of Ilvermorny’ was the most down-loaded show in that popular program’s history.

I learned today about and spent the morning reading the special issue of Apex mentioned above (and listening to Dr Sturgis read a short story by Allison Mills as well), an issue devoted to Indigenous American fantasists. Why is that worth your time? From the introduction:

Native voices are not safe. They may be beautiful and thought-provoking and wise; they are also inherently disruptive, because by existing they are inconvenient, even threatening, to the comfortable stories told in and by the mainstream.

I see the rise of Indigenous futurism today as a natural development, because the First Nations have always looked forward; that is why they have survived all attempts to erase them. For that matter, genre fiction has always stood at the periphery, observing and critiquing the majority and the mundane. The marriage is a natural one.

I finished reading Killers of the Flower Moon last night, the history of the reign of terror that the Osage Nation in Oklahoma suffered from 1918 to at least 1931. No doubt reading about a nightmare in the early years of my adopted home’s statehood colored my thinking about and my agreement with Dr Sturgis’ thesis about Native voices and their “natural marriage” with fantasy fiction. I recommend the issue to you with the hope, almost an expectation, that you will enjoy the challenge and depth of it as I have.

Get your copy here.