Guest Essay8: Arabella’s Epilogues

Three alternative endings, in a light vein, one each for the three faux-Hallows books in “print,” by beloved HogPro All-Pro, Arabella Figg.

Lord Voldemort Exclusive

By Arabella Figg

Rita Skeeter: So Lord Voldemort, we’ll just say the ending of the story was a complete surprise.

LV: Yes, no one expected me to repent.

RS: It was rather a shock.

LV: My Death Eaters were quite disappointed (high-pitched laugh).

RS: From sociopath to savior of the Wizarding World. What a resume. [Read more…]

Guest Essay7: “Snape as a Pillar of the Universe”

From HogPro All-Pro, MEKJ, an essay from her Live Journal:

Snape as a Pillar of the Universe?
Who is Severus Snape, and What is his Role in the “Harry Potter” Stories?

Several commentators online, most notably swythyv in the livejournal community and jodel from aol at the red hen website, have postulated that Severus Snape is perhaps the major figure – the hidden hero – of the Harry Potter stories. I agree – I see him as a warrior/guardian, who has always protected Harry and who will play a key role in the final defeat of Voldemort. But if he is a hero, why is he so petty and cruel? For he does seem to be. There are many examples of petty, malicious, or even downright vicious behavior from Snape in all the books, but the two most shocking bits of venom (other than the utterly horrifying climax to the Half-Blood Prince ) must surely be his treatment of Neville Longbottom and the ‘sectumsempra’ spell he invented as a young teenager. Can behaviors like these be reconciled with the idea of Snape as a hero, and, if so, how? [Read more…]

Guest Essay6: “Severus Snape and The Transparency of Evil”

This essay was sent out to e-subscribers this morning by Sightings, an online journal of The Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago. File it under, “Why Harry Potter is Important.”

Severus Snape and the Transparency of Evil
— Elizabeth Musselman

On July 21, children across the country will stay up all night reading as the narrative of Harry Potter draws to a close. Many adults will also stay up all night reading the final chapters in J. K. Rowling’s imaginative epic of teenage wizards negotiating the forces of good and evil. Perhaps if Martin Luther were alive today, he too would find himself drawn into the textual world of Harry Potter — for Harry’s world bears some striking resemblances to Luther’s theological realm. Appearances are deceptive, and human reason is not to be trusted; spoken words carry the power to defeat danger; and the ongoing struggle between good and evil finds no easy resolution. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Three — Prediction #5: The Rubedo

HPEF invited me early in 2003 to participate as a Featured Speaker at Nimbus 2003. I learned later that it was not a unanimous decision of the HPEF Board to invite me. It seems several Potter-philes, even at the height of ‘The Controversy,’ thought Connie Neal’s invitation was sufficient to cover the “Christian Interpretation” sub-category. The few board members who had read my Hidden Key to Harry Potter explained that mine was a literary rather than theologically driven approach to the books and that my thoughts on Alchemy were sufficient to warrant an invitation as Featured Speaker. I got in through the back door.

In 2003, “literary alchemy” was terra incognita to all but the few in Fandom who were subscribers to Cauda Pavonis, the academic journal devoted to the subject. Google “alchemy” and “Harry Potter” today and prepare for an afternoon of reading (most of it, unfortunately, will be time spent “wading” through papers not having been read by editors or “peer reviewed” by people familiar with the subject).

My talk at Nimbus 2003, “Alchemy, Doppelgangers and the Irony of Religious Objections to Harry Potter” (which was published in Touchstone magazine later that year as ‘The Alchemist’s Tale,’ brought Ms. Rowling’s use of alchemy to Fandom at a popular level — and the Slash writers, homeschooling soccer moms, and professors of Medieval Literature there were pretty excited about it. They voted that talk the “best presentation” of the 65 talks and panels at Nimbus. [Read more…]

PDay Minus Four — Prediction #4: Through the Veil

I have written at some length about the likelihood of Harry Passing through the Veil in the Department of Mysteries and expanded on the Christian Symbolism of the Veil even more recently.

In brief, Ms. Rowling has repeatedly had Harry go underground in his annual Hero’s Journey, which epic heroes do, as a rule, to visit the dead. That link and its constancy through six books points to a trip underground to see the dead in the finale.

Ms. Rowling’s comments about the seventh book (a) revealing her faith and (b) revealing how near we can get “to the dead” also point to an afterlife experience that has “shades” (ouch) of a Christian cosmology.

Let’s go to the “high spots” from my post on the Aeneid and Harry’s possible trip through the Veil…

Six Reasons for believing Harry will Pass Through the Veil

Here are six reasons taken from the top of my head for thinking Harry may go through the Veil in Deathly Hallows:

(1) In every novel so far, Ms. Rowling has had Harry descend before the climactic battle either underground quite literally or to a place of the dead. We can take this as something of a fetish, a coincidence, or a pointer to the last book when Harry will, at last, “do an Odysseus/Aeneas/Dante” and head into the real land of the dead. All previous descents would then be understood, not as mechanical check-list satisfaction for her hero’s journey formula, but as dramatic perumbration of one of the most memorable events in the story’s closing book.

(2) Ms. Rowling is by training a classicist. If she majored in French at the University of Exeter, [Read more…]