Beatrice Groves: Literary Allusion Talk and Leaky-Cauldron Christmas Posts

Christmas in ‘Chamber of Secrets’: or, why is the crowing of the rooster fatal to the Basilisk?

Christmas in ‘Chamber of Secrets’: or, why is the crowing of the rooster fatal to the Basilisk? PART 2

December 2018: Carols in Harry Potter And The Myth Of The Christmas Rose (Part 1) (Part 2)

Happy Christmas to you, Gregorians!

 

The Twitter Controversy as a Rowling Story: Mirroring Subtext, Narrative Misdirection, and Literary Alchemy

In my first post about Rowling’s tweet in support of Maya Forstater, I focused on two questions concerning this explosive reappearance on this social media platform: ‘why now?’ and ‘why this subject?’ The first response in the comment thread to that post, I think now, has the closest thing we will have to correct answers to those questions for some time. Nick Jeffery wrote, tying the seemingly arbitrary post to Rowling’s new Solve et Coagula tattoo (one he was the first to notice), ” It is an act of destruction and it is quite deliberate.”

I believe Mr Jeffery is quite right. To understand Rowling’s tweet and the consequent fall-out in fandom, our best course is to read the specific text in question as we would any story Rowling has written with the tools we know work best. What those tools suggest is that Rowling intentionally created her break with the Social Justice movement and its champions in Harry Potter fandom and I have to suspect with Hollywood in the months to come — and, as importantly, she is re-creating her public image and self to reflect better the person she wants to be (or the public mask behind which she is more comfortable).

Rather than the tweet being a clueless act of bigotry, what this view points to is three contrary to prevalent narrative possibilities: (1) that Rowling has written a story with real-world characters who voice the lines she know they will speak for effects she wants to happen within her narrative, (2) she has embedded clues for the attentive reader to discover, clues which reveal her true meaning as well as a lesson in reading well, and (3) that the #IStandWithMaya post she made on 19 December is a long-planned and courageous act of re-invention that frees her and her serious readers potentially from being sock-puppets for the Zeitgeist. Call this the ‘Solve et Coagula Theory.’

To see these three possibilities involves a review of Rowling’s year and most importantly the week prior to the tweet in question, a review using the tools we have in hand for interpreting Rowling’s work in a careful reading of the specific text in question and of the context of her previous work and public comments. If you want to move beyond the Daily Prophet headlines that ‘Rowling is a Transphobe!’ and ‘Inclusive Message of Hogwarts Saga Betrayed!,’ please join me after the jump for an exercise in exegesis with the tools of texts within texts, narrative misdirection, and literary alchemy that reveal Rowling as the maestro of media manipulation and personal re-invention. [Read more…]

Why I’m Reading Philosopher’s Stone in Spanish

With my upcoming trip to Ecuador with the Global Autism Project, I need to brush up on my Spanish.  I took four years of the language in high school and did a minor during my undergraduate years at Emory University, but I’ve had few opportunities to use it in the 30 years hence, so I am quite rusty.  So, what better way to re-familiarize myself with the language than to read (and listen!)  to a very familiar and beloved story en espanol?  I’m both listening to it on audiobook on my daily commute and reading a copy that my daughter was given in high school. My ultimate plan is to do both at once.

I am pleasantly surprised at how much I can understand, though my familiarity with the English book certainly helps.  I am also intrigued by the minor differences I see between the English and Spanish translations and also by a few changes that I see between the audio and print versions.

Mas depues de la salta! [Read more…]

Rowling’s Remarks at Film Premiere

Rowling’s Talk at Ripple of Hope Awards

At 8:25 in the short talk, she says she is a week away from finishing Strike5.