Evanna-Luna Dances to Hedwig’s Theme

Did you know that Evanna Lynch corresponded with J. K. Rowling before she was cast as Luna Lovegood? Please remind me the next time I get snarky about The Presence about substantive, life-changing gestures like this that JKR made during the Mania madness to help young people through serious issues. Enjoy the dance!

NPR Wants Potter Professors for Show

National Public Radio in the US is planning a 20th Anniversary program to celebrate all things Harry Potter. They are looking for teachers who use the Hogwarts Saga in their classrooms — not just classes devoted to the subject but anywhere in any subject at any level. Here’s the  CFP — ‘Call for Pundits’ — on their website:

It’s been a little more than 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in the U.S. In that time, the series has become beloved by many — and sparked controversy among others, often making it onto lists of banned books.

NPR wants to hear from teachers who incorporate Harry Potter into their yearly curriculum. Whether you’re just starting out and have loved the books since you were a child or you’re a seasoned veteran who has taught about Hogwarts for years, we want to hear about the experiences you’ve had with your students.

Your responses may be used in an upcoming story, on air or on NPR.org. A producer may reach out to you to follow up on your response, too. Thanks for submitting our form!

The form, very short, can be found here by scrolling down. NPR does great radio and I look forward to hearing about how the Harry Potter stories are being put to use by Generation Hex teachers in primary, secondary, and college classrooms, teachers who grew up with the stories and are now charged with sharing the magic. Please do send out this CFPundits to all the teachers you know who teach with Harry Potter. I hope to listen to your story or your friends’ stories when the show is aired!

Lethal White: Beatrice Groves on ‘Galbraith Meets Graham Norton’

Prof Beatrice Groves, a Research Fellow Lecturer at Trinity College, Oxford University. Her groundbreaking Literary Allusion in Harry Potter was published in 2017. She is a frequent guest on the MuggleNet podcast, ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling‘ and writes for that fandom platform on her dedicated page, ‘Bathilda’s Notebook.’ A frequent contributor to conversations at HogwartsProfessor.com (HogPro), Prof Groves last posted here to discuss the ‘Nagini Maledictus in Fantastic Beasts.’ Today she writes about the Robert Galbraith interview last week with Graham Norton on a BBC2 radio show. Enjoy!

‘I really enjoyed writing this book, it’s probably my favourite of the series both in terms of how it turned out and but also sheer enjoyment. I loved it, I really did.’

On Saturday J. K. Rowling gave a radio interview about Lethal White to Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2. [You can listen to the interview via this link; it begins at 2:30:00.] This is ‘Robert’s’ most in-depth interview since Val McDermid’s in 2014 (cf., Val McDermid interviews JK Rowling (Robert Galbraith) at Harrogate International Festival 2014) and you can hear how much more relaxed Rowling is in it than in her recent televised appearances in America promoting Crimes of Grindelwald and Lumos.

This is possibly due to the warmth of Graham Norton (he’s a very successful chat show host with a great track record of getting the best out of his interview subjects) and her not being jet-lagged (!) but – most likely – it shows the natural preference of a public-speaking phobic celebrity for the medium of radio. But some of her warmth in this interview can, I think, be attributed to the fact that she’s talking about a work that she loves.

Norton asked her whether it made her happier to see her films or her novels at No. 1 and – no surprise to HogPro readers here – she admitted that the success of Strike gives her more of a kick than the Fantastic Beasts movies (however different the paychecks). Much of what she said in this interview we’ve heard before (the story about her cover nearly being blown while her husband was eating a ‘research’ fry-up, for example) but much of it was slightly more fully expressed.

As when she thanked the many listeners who wrote in to praise her for getting their children to read: [Read more…]

Two Weekends, Two Virginia Magic Festivals and One Tired Professor

It’s definitely Harry Potter copyright-free Magic Festival season here in the mid-Atlantic, with the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival hereafter ‘QCMM’) in Staunton, VA on Sept. 28-30, the Generic Magic Festival (hereafter ‘GMF’) in Roanoke, VA on Oct. 6th, The 7th Annual Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College, PA on Oct. 19-20 (and the associated Wands and Wizards Festival in the town of Chestnut Hill) and finally Scottsville, VA’s Wizarding Fest On October 27. All of these events, of course, began as bona fide Harry Potter Festivals, and all, except the academic conference, which has a Shield Charm based on its educational nature, changed their name after receiving cease-and-desist Howlers from Warner Brothers.

To my delight, my own institution decided to get a bit more into the act for the QCMM this year, sponsoring a reptile show on the main downtown stage and “Hufflepuff Village” (based in part on our shared yellow school/house color) on the main campus, as well as the academic presentations at “Beauxbatons Academy” that I coordinated. After two long days during that weekend, I trekked down to Roanoke yesterday to present a talk, be on a panel and record a podcast at their festival. This flurry of activity makes my missing the Chestnut Hill conference for the first time since 2014 (thanks to a conflict with my 30th college reunion) a little less depressing. I have had a great time giving and hearing presentations over the last 10 days, and I want to summarize some highlights here. [Read more…]

J. J. Abrams: The Mystery Box

I have been asked to give a TED-length talk later this month at Oklahoma City’s ‘Curiosity Fest’ so I have been watching online some of the most popular videos of this speaking genre. This is a shorter and funnier example with something of a message for Potter-philes about the power of mystery in story-telling. Plus you get to learn how a director gets around the problem of shooting scenes involving a gun forced inside Tom Cruise’s nose. Enjoy!