True Story from Carnegie Hall: “Main Line Boy Meets JK Rowling”

This newspaper story about a young man that won a seat in Carnegie Hall the night of Ms. Rowling’s reading and Q&A last month is worth reflecting on and re-reading. Not only what happens to him but his understanding and description of the night in New York are also instructive and challenging. Please let me know what you think.

Main Line Boy Meets JK Rowling
by Phyllis Rubin
Main Line Life

Danny Garfield, lifelong resident of the Penn Wynne section of Wynnewood, was home alone after school. His older sister was at a sports practice and both his parents were working. He was 13 and it was a few days before his Bar Mitzvah. He is tall for his age, with long hair and an engaging smile, giving him the appearance of an older teen.

His dog wanted to go out. As Danny opened the door, something told him to check the gates in the yard, and sure enough, one was open. He rushed outside, closed the gate before the dog got away, and, feeling relieved, went inside. As he reentered the house, he realized he had missed a phone call, since someone was leaving a message. He listened. [Read more…]

New Book from Ms. Rowling: >$62,000 per copy for ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’

Here’s hoping she releases a cheap edition (sans precious stones) post-auction for us groundlings!

Rowling Completes Post-Harry Potter Book

Thursday, November 1, 2007 5:43 AM EDT
The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — J.K. Rowling has completed her first post-Harry Potter book, a collection of wizarding fairytales titled “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

Rowling said Thursday that only seven copies of the book are being printed. One will be auctioned next month to raise money for a children’s charity, while the others have been given away as gifts.

The collection of five stories has been handwritten and illustrated by Rowling.

“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is mentioned in the final Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” as a gift left by headmaster Albus Dumbledore to Harry’s friend Hermione, and provides clues that help destroy evil Lord Voldemort.

“‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ is really a distillation of the themes found in the Harry Potter books, and writing it has been the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a world I have loved and lived in for 17 years,” Rowling said. [Read more…]

Harry Potter and C. S. Lewis: Three Reflections from a Seminar Weekend in North Carolina

What a great weekend in Wake Forest, North Carolina! The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture sponsored a magnificent C. S. Lewis seminar with scholars from around the world discussing Lewis’ books, thoughts, and legacy.

Robert Trexler at Zossima Press and the designated hitter here at Hogwarts Professor convinced me I would get a lot out of it. Once again by disregarding my “better judgment” and heeding Bob’s advice I was well served. It would take longer than a weekend to share what I heard and learned there, but three things come immediately to mind.

(1) I learned from a Lewis scholar what C. S. Lewis might have said about Ms. Rowling’s Carnegie Hall comments;

(2) I heard a mind-blowing lecture by Penn State’s Sanford Schwartz on Lewis’ Space Trilogy (sometimes called The Ransom Novels) and, in discussion with him and others later, realized what Michael Wards’ Narnia thesis may mean in the academic world’s appreciation of Harry Potter and Ms. Rowling’s alchemical artistry; and
[Read more…]

O’Connor, Shelley, and Interpreting Beyond Intentio Auctoris

I am on the road again for a few days, this time to a C. S. Lewis conference in Wake Forest, NC. Before I leave, I rush to post two interesting comments in re the events of the past week and our discussion here for your reflection and comments.

The first is from Dr. Arthur Remillard, adjunct faculty at St. Francis University, on Ms. Rowling’s situation and a famous exchange between Flanerry O’Connor and a person asking her what one of her symbols meant. Ms. O’Connor seemed to resent being asked if her drawing of a horse was a horse…. [Read more…]

Ms. Rowling says Ministry of Magic is the Blair and Bush Governments in Story Form

Keith Olbermann of Countdown television show fame is a big Harry Potter fan. He had the distinction of introducing Ms. Rowling to the crowd at Carnegie Hall and to speaking with her backstage before the event. As you might expect, they talked politics and they are kindred souls of the left. On his show Monday night this week, he shared this bon mot:

OLBERMANN: There was something even more startling [than the Dumbledore revelation], which she had told me, and then hinted at with the audience, the political subtext of the entire Harry Potter series…. Lost in all that [Dumbledore information], what Miss Rowling said backstage, then touched upon again to here young readers. First, she told me the parallels between the Mystery of Magic and its false sense of omniscience and the conduct of the American and British governments were no inferences. She had put them there. She then said on stage the books are, quote, a plea for an end to hatred, to bigotry and a lesson for kids and everybody else to question authority. You should not assume the establishment tells you the truth.

In his conversation with Chris Cillizza, he went on with this political lead: [Read more…]