Happy Hogwarts Express Day! Beware the mad Trolley Lady!

HogwartsExpressDear readers: Happy Hogwarts Express Day! Every year on September 1, the Hogwarts Express departs, in a cloud of steam and anticipation, from King’s Cross Platform 9¾, whisking a new set of eager witches and wizards off to another year of magical education and adventure. Best of luck, Hogwarts students! May all first-years get sorted into the houses their hearts desire!

Potter fans celebrate days like today, not because we’re crazy (well, a bit) or because we have trouble discerning fact from fiction. We celebrate days like September 1st because we are shaped by a series that claims reality – that which truly signifies – is not marked only by what we can observe with our senses, or what history tells us is fact, but also by those realities inside our heads. These are the realities C.S. Lewis said make up the “real theme” of the story: not what happens so much, but rather what it all means. Realities like love, friendship, imagination and compassion.

Remembering September 1st is a way of acknowledging that, at some point, everyone has to start on a journey. Maybe the journey is one of living up to a long family tradition, like Ron’s or Neville’s. Maybe it’s a journey of proving you belong through hard work and talent, like Hermione’s. Maybe it’s one of discovering who you are, where you came from, and where your real powers lie, like Harry’s. Regardless, on this day of departures, we at Hogwarts Professor wish you speed, luck, magic, and zero Dementors on your journey.

But do look out for the Trolley Lady. She is not just there to sell pumpkin pasties. She’s there to throw them at you like grenades if you try to get off this train before it reaches its destination.

Trolley Lady 5If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you haven’t yet read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: the rehearsal script for the hit West-End play that premiered this summer.

While reviews of the stage play have been enthusiastic, reviews of the production’s rehearsal script, inspired in part by Jo herself, but penned by Jack Thorne, have been… mixed. The script, published in late July, currently averages 3.9 stars on Good Reads, from almost 150,000 ratings. This seems generous, compared to reviews from those in the know. Mugglenet’s early reaction to the script asked if we could all “pretend this didn’t happen”. James Thomas, on this blog, firmly asserted the play is not the “eighth Potter story” it was touted to be. Potter expert Amy H. Sturgis, in her Good Reads review, says, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reminds me in certain ways of the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), in that one wonders how the creator lost control of the reins (or his/her mind) so thoroughly, given the ruthlessness with which this work undermines the seriousness of the themes and ideas of the text that inspired it.” Listen folks, anytime a work is being compared to the Star Wars Holiday Special, that’s not a good thing.

Cover 2And yet, reports have surfaced that Warner Brothers may be seeking the rights to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in order to turn it into a trilogy of films starring Dan Radcliffe.

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When confronted with this news, I had a strong reaction of wanting to get off this train. Now. Before it’s too late: before Potterverse gets swallowed up by the capitalist instinct to just keep the machine going if it’s generating a profit, whether the product is any good or not. And yet I can’t get off the train; I’m hemmed in by my own fond loyalty to ‘verse. It’s like being trapped by the Trolley Lady herself (Cursed Child version, that is). She’s this woman I thought I knew, who brought me comfort and nourishment, once upon a time. But now she’s coming after me, all of a sudden, with exploding baked goods and spikey hands. All because I want to get off.

Fortunately, according to Cursed Child, the Trolley Lady was bluffing. If you want off, all you have to do is jump.

Capturing Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle

This past July, while I was in Orlando for Leaky-Con and visiting family, my mother-in-law and I partook of one of our favorite activities: thrift store shopping. She knows all the best spots, and we always find great bargains and have a blast. While I was browsing the books, I spotted one I have only ever seen on the virtual shelf on J.K. Rowling’s pre-Pottermore website: Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. It’s a fairly well-handled edition, but it was practically free, and I decided I wanted to see why Rowling has always declared the novel’s narrator to be one of the “most charismatic” of any in any novel. I recently finally got around to reading it, so I thought I’d share a few of my insights, and see if those of you who have also read the book will post your thoughts as well!
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Hogwarts Coming to a Kindle near you?

For those of you who have been captured by the e-book craze, the sheer number of books available in this format is rivaled only by the books that are not available, or at least, which haven’t been available yet. Though we may enjoy Harry Potter’s adventures via audiobook, they have not yet been released to the e-reader crowd. J.K. Rowling now appears to be considering the possibility of releasing our favorite wizard to the e-book world. In this article, she is described as exhibiting some interest in the electronic market. While some of us may have loved the fact that our shared text could only be read on a printed page, others may be thrilled that we can take all seven books with us on airplane (really, if I could have any one object from the Wizarding World, it would be Hermione’s purse/self-storage unit, but I still like “real” books). What are your thoughts on the potential e-book release of the Hogwarts Adventures? Are you howling in indignation, laughing with delight, or scratching your head wondering what all the fuss is about?

Deleted Scene to Whet Appetites for Deathly Hallows: Pt. 1 DVD out April 15

April 15 is usually a day to strike fear in the hearts of Americans. If the IRS doesn’t scare you (and really, those folks always look like Death Eaters in my imagination), maybe Voldemort will! So the movie folks are releasing the DVD of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on that resonant date. If your tax woes are few (or so bad you need an escape), April 15 is looking like a good movie night (I’m looking forward to the big-screen release of The Conspirator that same day)! In anticipation of the big release, here is a sneak preview of a deleted scene (with embedded version after the jump).

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