War Against Voldemort = War on Islamofascism?

A retired US Army Special Forces Lt. Colonel sent me this editorial from a London writer printed in the Christian Science Monitor today. The article struck me as an important point of reflection during the release of Warner Brothers version of Order of the Phoenix.

The way Andrew Roberts describes the war — as a piece in the century-tested pattern of English-speaking nations combating fascist nations successfully as allies — gives it a resonance with the war against Voldemort as we see it in The Order of the Phoenix. The media, the government in denial of the threat, and the man-in-the-street don’t want to fight the war with the Dark Lord and resent very much those who insist on fighting it.

The problem with the analogy? The Wizarding World is turning on heroic, brilliant Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter. The English speaking world has turned on George Bush and Tony Blair, easily lampoonable figures. (Is a George Bush that much different than an FDR? As different as the press of 1942 is from the media of 2007?) We find it impossible to see ourselves as anyone other than members of Dumbledore’s Army or as Christ’s faithful apostle. I’m afraid, the world being what it is, we are much more likely to be screaming for the easy way out of armed conflict against Voldemort or yelling “Crucify him!” One of the dangers of Potter-philia it seems is that we readers just yell, “Hurrah for Harry and our side, the repressed and marginalized!” The texts and culture don’t invite much self-reflection about how much we resemble the bad guys.

Ms. Rowling gives me the impression of being well-left of center politically but her stories are about moral courage in resistance to what is “easy” but “wrong.” If the regime — political and cultural — is left-leaning, then, do her stories foster a hawkish view of the struggle against terrorists like bin Laden? Is that the morally courageous position when the media mavens and most politicians are against this war?

Now, if that is the case, what percentage of Harry Potter Fandom could understand the conflict in these terms, with themselves as real-world players equivalent to the the silent magical majority condemning Dumbledore and Harry as self-important trouble-makers?

Just a thought.

At Stake in the Iraq war: Survival of a Way of Life
Unless the English-speaking peoples step up, they’ll lose the great struggle against radical, totalitarian Islam.

By Andrew Roberts
London

The English-speaking peoples of the world need to unite around their common heritage of values. And they need to sacrifice their naiveté about the true nature of war – and the losses that inevitably go with it. Otherwise, they will lose a titanic struggle with radical, totalitarian Islam. [Read more…]

Guest Essay4: “St. Norbert and the Canons Regular of Premontre — Reflections on a Bishop, a Headmaster, and the Twelve Uses of Dragon’s Blood”

A Bishop, a Headmaster, and the Twelve Uses of Dragon’s Blood

by Sally Palmer, 11 June 2007

Just before sitting down to type this essay (on 11 June 2007), I decided to peruse a few of my favorite HP fan websites. I noticed on one that the cover art for the “Deluxe Edition” of Deathly Hallows was released at the end of last week, when I was away for a nice long weekend with my family. So, I decided to check it out. I was shocked to actually see Harry, Ron, & Hermione riding across the sky on the back of a dragon! Shocked because the premise of my essay, as it rattled in my head over the weekend, was that Norbert (or at least his blood) was going to play a prominent role in the resolution of the story. And there he is, sailing across the sky with the trio in tow! As the clues I’ve recently uncovered suggest, it simply must be Norbert coming to their aid and not just your average, run-of-the-mill Welsh Green.

I’ve recently made an attempt to stay better connected to the Episcopal church’s calendar, holy days, and lectionary. To that end, I’ve got a copy of the Episcopal Ordo Kalendar at my home office desk. Works great when I’m at my home office, which I was last Wednesday, 06 June 2007. In the early morning, I looked at the calendar and noticed that it was St. Norbert’s Day. I thought, “Hmmm.. that’s interesting…sounds like Norbert the dragon.” Then I looked more closely at the date and noticed that St. Norbert was the founder of a Catholic Order known as the “Premonstratensians.” Norbert…pre-MONSTRA-tensians…sounds like Norbert the (monster) Dragon to me.

From perusing websites and reading her interviews, I’d learned that Ms. Rowling likes to collect names and use them for characters. A few other folks in the e-universe made the potential connection between St. Norbert and Norbert the Dragon long before me. Still others have pointed to the significance of dragon’s blood and the return of Norbert in Deathly Hallows (see blog postings under the “Literary Alchemy” section of www.hogwartsprofessor.com under “Dragon’s Blood & Elixir from the Philosopher’s Stone, in particular). But I was still curious to learn more about St. Norbert and the Premonstratensians. What I think I’ve found is way more interesting than just the name for a dragon. [Read more…]

Guest Essay3: Pat Robertson?

The Christian Broadcasting Network website offers a collection of Pro and Con Essays about the Suitability of Harry Potter for Child Readers.

Hat tip to Sandra Miesel, who observed: “Amazing how many positive articles they missed, isn’t it?”

Indeed.

Guest Essay2: “Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from Albus Dumbledore”

Longtime HogPro stalwart Beth Priest posted this essay on epinions today, and it makes a nice complement to Ms. Palmer’s guest essay — at least in being about Dumbledore and approaching the character from an entirely different angle and purpose.

Enjoy!

Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from Albus Dumbledore
Jul 10 ’07

The Bottom Line “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

Well, I’ve reached my 300th review on Epinions! Each time I reach another 100 reviews, I mark the milestone by creating a literary list. For my 100th review, I did our family’s top 10 list of authors writing books for children five and under. When I reached 200, I decided to focus on 10 poems that are wonderful to read to and share with young children.

For number 300, I’ve decided to do something a bit different, though still connected to literature. My reaching 300 reviews happens to coincide with the forthcoming publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in her amazing series. So I thought that I would offer up a different kind of list. In the spirit of celebrating my love and appreciation for Rowling’s stories and characters, I offer you 10 Lessons I’ve Learned (or in many cases Re-Learned) from Albus Dumbledore. [Read more…]

Guest Essay:”Dumbledore as Christian Mystic” or “Ms. Rowling meets Evelyn Underhill”

I am hard at work on my Enlightening 2007 presentation and distracted by thoughts about Tale of Two Cities which normally would mean a day without a HogPro update. Today, though, it means a special treat, namely an essay by Sally Palmer. You’ll recall that Ms. Palmer pointed me to Florence and Machiavelli for a possible clue about Severus Snape’s motivation. Here she discusses another neglected influence, Evelyn Underhill, and what this writer might tell us about another major character, Albus Dumbledore. Enjoy!

PS: If you have sent me an essay for comment or posting and I have not responded or posted it, please re-send. I am working on three different computers in three different geographical locations — and the cracks through which valuable things are falling are becoming something like canyons. My apologies.

Dumbledore as Christian Mystic: The Head Master who undermines postmodernism and other “mystical mistakes”

By Sally Palmer

July 10, 2007

Over the past few months, I have made several forays into brief studies on the people to whom “Devotion Days” are dedicated on my Episcopal Churchman’s Ordo Kalendar. June 15th was dedicated to someone I’d never heard of, Evelyn Underhill, an English woman (1875-1941), student of ancient mysticism, and –eventually – Anglican spiritual director. So I googled her & found this website: [Read more…]