A Groundhog Throwback! Revisiting Posts of the Past

Apparently, since the groundhog did behold his shadow, six more weeks of winter are on their way. Quite honestly, the groundhogs where I live could see the shadow of Elvis and we’d still be lucky Image result for groundhogtoImage result for groundhog day movie get off with only six more weeks of ice melt, mud, bitter cold, and static electricity that could easily torch a Zeppelin. However, in the spirit of things, since today is Groundhog Day, references will abound to the Bill Murray film about maximum déjà vu. It is also Thursday, which has become the day to post pictures of the past. In honor of those two  events colliding, I thought it would be fun to re-visit some past posts that I really enjoyed writing and which, since they were some time ago, some of our newer Hogwarts Professor readers might have missed. So, turn that alarm clock back a few years, Mr. Murray, and let’s relive a few past posts that may ignite new conversations!

 

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Once More into the Games, Dear Friends, Once More! Mockingjay Part 2 Flies into Theaters

The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-2-Final-PosterFor the past four years, a wonderful local theater, the Yancey in Burnsville, has graciously hosted the readers of Mayland Community College for our own showing of the newest installment of the Hunger Games film adaptations. On Friday, November 20, once again the theater played the movie just for us, and, as we took in this, the last of the films based on Suzanne Collins’s remarkable trilogy, I once again toted my notebook and pen (along with lots of tissues) to collect my thoughts to share with you here.  So, the pieces are in place; the countdown has begun. Let’s enter the arena, one last time, to see how the conclusion of this epic and complex tale survived its journey to screen. (Fair warning: this detailed review contains major plot elements.)

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Mockingjay Flies Higher than Earlier Installments

On November 21, in our now-annual trip to the wonderful Yancey Theater to see the latest installment of Hunger Games film adaptations, the Mayland gang was joined by a fantastic group of high school students from Avery High School. Thanks to their teacher, the incredible Hollie Greene, I was able to speak with the students about the book’s symbolism before they joined us in the theater. Seeing the film this time was not only a great experience because of our high school friends, but also because this movie, much more so than the previous two, often delivers the goods when it comes to grasping the deeper meaning. Though no film is perfect, and a film based on a book is always fraught with changes readers don’t like (the students sniggered at the shirt I wore, proclaiming simply: “The book was
better”), Mockingjay part 1 has some elements that make it, undeniably, the best adaptation of the trilogy so far. Join our conversation with your thoughts if you have seen the film! If you haven’t, I’m not holding back on the details, so be warned! [Read more…]

Fire Burns Brighter this Time Around, but Gamemakers Still Could use Some Schooling from my College Students

Three years ago, I began using The Hunger Games as a required novel in all sections of my Expository Writing classes at Mayland Community College. Most of my students had never even heard of the book, and only one or two had read it before, but it was a unanimous success that changed students’ outlooks on everything from reading to politics. We anxiously followed movie news, as the film adaptation got underway just up the road from our campus, and some of our students and their friends and family members worked on the movie.

When the film debuted in March last year, we made arrangements with a local theater to have a Mayland showing, at which we could all yell things like “I can see my house from here!” in scenic shots, and the students who were extras could exclaim, “Hey, that’s the back of my head!” Other than such delights, the film held a fair few disappointments for us, most of which could be summed up in the phrase “Less Seneca Crane! More Madge!”

This time around, I kept my expectations low, as the removal of Madge, the absence of a circular gold cornucopia, and the elision or removal of so much of the first novel’s symbolic power had not prepared me to be impressed with the sequel. But I made arrangements with the delightful Yancey Theater (if you are ever in Burnsville, NC, please support this local business and enjoy a classic old theater!), put out the word, and rounded up 70 or so students, faculty, staff ,and friends to see the movie early on opening day.

Much to my surprise, it seems as if, this time around, we have Gamemakers who have actually read all the books; though they might still be able to take more than a few lessons from the savvy crowd who saw the show with me Friday, they at least seemed to have made an effort to be faithful to the text, even if they miss (again) much of its symbolic weight. [Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘A New Map of Panem’ by Mark Windsor

Recently, we had a wonderful message from Mark Windsor regarding his theoretical Panem map. We are now delighted to present his complete map, along with a very careful breakdown of why he positions which districts in which spots. We hope you will enjoy Mark’s super analysis and graphics and that you you will join in our conversation to support, add to, or contradict his conclusions! Thank you so much, Mark. If President Snow needs a secretary of Geography, the odds are really in your favor!

A New Map of Panem by Mark Windsor

Not long ago, I encountered a map of Panem that someone had created based on reading of the Hunger Games trilogy. My first time through the series, I hadn’t thought too much about what Panem actually looked like. You can compare what appears below with what inspired the attempt. If you scroll down on the link above, you’ll see a list of “what we know”. There are a few things on that list that seemed a bit off track. I thought, “Well, this might be fun.” And thus a new project was born – Why not create a map of Panem? [Read more…]