The Trailer Madness Begins!

Check out the brand new Deathly Hallows teaser trailer above! After the MTV tease was yanked, maybe this one will stick around until the next, more tempting morsel.

Thoughts? Criticism? Shrieks of horror or delight? What do you think of seeing bits from both halves, including the big finale? The dragon is white — hurrah! Personally, I’ll be scouring the stores to get a smart suit like Hermione appears to be sporting this time around. You?

Weird and Wonderful Time at Waldenbooks

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of doing a signing for Twilight and History at the nearby Waldenbooks. Fortunately, it was not an experience like Parnell Hall describes in his absolutely hilarious song  and video about how depressing it is to have a book signing that no one attends. Every author has had these, I imagine (I certainly have). My husband still dines out on the story of the signing at  Barnes and Noble when he was elated to find four people waiting for him to get there, and they were the only ones who showed up the whole time!  We had a steady crowd, including one dear thing who looked at the book, looked at me, then said, in motherly tones, “Well, I’ve never read your books, but my daughter and her friends are just crazy about them.” She seemed rather startled when I assured her I was not actually Stephenie Meyer. (That was the weird part) [Read more…]

Beneath the Surface: Continued Conversation on Bree Tanner

Well, our so-called surface level thread on the new Bree Tanner novella quickly went far beneath the surface, not a surprising development for our readers here! To make sure some of the great conversation, which went quickly into deep waters of the novella as an allegory or defense of Meyer’s faith, didn’t get lost in the pile of comments, we’re pulling them up here to continue the excellent discussion . Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the deeper aspects of the text, with other posts along those lines to come soon!

   James on June 15, 2010 at 3:40 am

There are many insights into the vampire world, to be sure, as Stephenie promised. I realized that the Nomad vampires are actually homeless. Don’t know why I didn’t realize that before. Other than the Volturi and Cullens, all appear to be wanderers. Bummer.

I hope to talk on this with John and Steve Walker in another upcoming podcast, but I also noticed the great deal of hellish imagery associated with Riley’s coven/congregation. This led me to see that Riley is a misleading priest figure, lying to his congregants to keep them under his control, spreading superstition and lies so that they won’t realize they have the potential to live as beings of light (with love again as a potential path to glory/divinization).

So the questions arise, “Does the Creator know the truth? Is the Creator… wrong? Does the Creator assent to her priest/spokesman’s controlling lies and abuse?” And, of course, in any case, “what can/should be done about it?” How can you exercise your “free agency”/autonomy when you realize how ignorant and misled your religion truly is? I think with “Bree Tanner,” Meyer posits a remarkable allegory about what (not) to do when you realize your faith — or other beliefs — are untrue, in contrast with Bella’s finding a true path following the prophetic and godlike Carlisle. Remarkable.

[Read more…]

Hogwarts in Central Florida? Wizarding World Opens at Universal

Those of us who have not been living in Australia with modified memories to protect our children from Death Eaters are already probably well aware of the latest development in Harry Potter entertainment experiences, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida, which officially opens June 18. You can watch the opening festivities live here.  While many of us who will be at Infinitus next month may be planning a visit to the Wizarding World (I’m not; I’m generally opposed to amusement parks in Florida in July unless the kindly uncle sets us up with free Disney admission. The only thing worse than sweltering in line for hours is paying out the nose to do it, so I’ll wait until the cooler weather and the hubbub die-down.) For those who are not planning to go in person, the official website has some nice images and information to give you a feel for the place.

The excitement surrounding the opening of the WW, with rides ranging from a virtual reality experience inside Hogwarts Castle to a family-friendly Hippogriff coaster to racing dragon coasters, has been considerable, and the ambiance, including a snowy (!) Hogsmeade with familiar shops like Honeydukes, shows loving attention to detail that is intended to immerse visitors in the world we love visiting in books (and movies, since that’s the vision we get here).

 While it might be easy to dismiss this as yet another way to prise Galleons from the pockets of faithful Potter-philes by playing on their love for all things Harry and slapping a Bernie Botts label on bags of Jelly Belly Beans, there may also be something in this development that harks back to what we’ve discussed here before: the power of a truly immersive text. Yes, people will go just to ride the dragon coasters or just because they think some movie actor was cute, but others will go to experience, in three dimensions, the world we’ve pictured in our minds with the books in our hands. We want to peer into Dumbledore’s office or shop at Ollivander’s because these place already seem real to us. We may feel a thrill of delight as the steam issues from the Hogwarts Express, promising us a journey that we have all taken in our minds.

[Read more…]

Misery Loves Company: The New Yorker on the popularity of YA dystopias (Hunger Games!)

This week’s  New Yorker has a wonderful article analyzing the popularity of dystopian novels for younger readers (though acknowledging that many of the most fervent readers of the Hunger Games are adults). Among the reasons the author, Laura Miller, gives for this trend is the possibility  that high school is a dystopian world much like Panem (no wonder those of us who weren’t  “Careers” felt like we were fighting for survival every day of four years of misery!). [Read more…]