Guest Post: Narnia, Hogwarts, and Fantastic Beasts

All Star HogPro All-Pro on deck! Pay Attention! Thank you, Prof. Hardy, for sharing this brilliant survey of magical animals in the Hogwarts Saga and the Narniad.

Fantastic Beasts: C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and the Menagerie of the Imagination

by Elizabeth Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels

Every author is influenced by what he or she experiences, believes, or learns. Authors are also profoundly affected by what they read. All authors weave into their own work that which they have read, from the great stories of the Bible or classical mythology, to the poems of childhood songs or nursery rhymes, to phrases or words caught in passing. Far from indicating plagiarism or unoriginality, such connections rather display the variety of influences, often unconscious, that an author may have had, while allowing the reader to notice the ways in which an author, both subtly and overtly, uses material from other sources, often by twisting it into strange and wonderful new forms. [Read more…]

Two All-Pro ‘Thoughts on Twilight’ Posts!

Arabella Figg takes a Psychological Look at Bella and Edward in Twilight and New Moon over at the beta version of Forks High School and Linda McCabe, serious Vampire Lore Lady (who knew?), tells us what works and what doesn’t in the Twilight Saga. Both are important reflections on the stuff and substance of the best selling books since Harry left Privet Drive… Check ’em out — and please let us know of any other “serious readings” you have stumbled upon online!

Leaky Con 2009 Report: A Great Time!

All pictures below are courtesy of Toni Gras, photographer for the Harry Potter Fan Zone down under (and HogPro All Pro everywhere!). The complete Leaky Con photo album is online here. Thank you, Toni, for giving me permission to post your great pictures! Toni’s Leaky Con article for HPFZ is also now online — check it out.

Where to start? Well, the location, of course! Leaky Con was in Boston’s spectacular Park Plaza Hotel, which comes complete with its own Ballroom inside a Castle. A very long way from a High School Gym with banners the cheerleaders made before the big game. You knew walking in that you weren’t in Kansas any more. Magnificent lighting and special effects hangings by the Leaky Crew… [Read more…]

SCOTUS Appointee a Potter-phile?

So says The New Republic:

“Her former clerks report that because Sotomayor is divorced and has no children, her clerks become like her extended family–working late with her, visiting her apartment once a month for card games (where she remembers their favorite drinks), and taking a field trip together to the premier of a Harry Potter movie.”

That’s one breakdown of the Court’s thinking on issues I haven’t read. Anyone care to guess the opinions, majority and dissenting, of our Supreme Court Justices on Harry?

(H/T — RHT)

The Personal Heresy: A Case Study

Last weekend I attended Book Expo America (BEA) at New York City’s Javits Center. One of the more interesting panel discussions I went to was on Book Clubs. I went to it, embarrassing full disclosure here, because I hoped I might learn how to get Zossima Press titles picked up by Book of the Month Club or Quality Paperback Book Club.

Whoops! The discussion was about neighborhood reading clubs, which proved to my delight to be much more interesting than what I expected to be hearing.

The relevant and disturbing thing I picked up that I’d like to offer here for your reflection and comments was the consensus of the five women on the panel and the moderator that what Book Club members really want to know — and what book club leaders are obliged to provide — is information about the author of the work the club is reading. Knowing that s/he lives in Long Island, is married with two children, graduated from Kalamazoo U, and has a dachshund and pet tortoise is not enough; a discussion leader is obliged to search and find personal data well beyond book cover blurbs. The home run is scheduling an appearance by the author at the club date — so members can ask him or her how much of the story reflects their personal lives.

These Book Club pundits weren’t uneducated women or desperate housewives, believe me. When an author in the audience pointed out, though, that better writers weren’t writing autobiographies in story they wanted readers to pick apart to discover the ‘real world’ referents, the panel seemed non-plussed. They weren’t endorsing or arguing that interpreting the books readers gathered to discuss in the light of an author’s personal history was good or bad; they were just saying it was certainly what members wanted to do, would do, and it was the business of the Book Club sponsor to foster this sort of literary gossip if s/he wanted a successful Book Club.

We see a lot of this in Potter Fandom, alas. [Read more…]