How to Save the Fantastic Beasts Series

Yesterday Elizabeth Baird-Hardy masterfully summarized the latest news out of Hollywood about the Fantastic Beasts movies in a post fittingly titled, No More Fantastic Beasts Films? In brief, the word is that the CEO of Warner Brothers-Discovery has lucrative franchises on his mind, wants to work with Rowling to revive the comatose Harry Potter golden goose, and that he hinted Rowling was not interested. He did not mention the Fantastic Beasts movies, which as Prof Baird Hardy noted, is in keeping with the revenues generated (or, more precisely, not generated) by the first three Beasts films.

She ended this post by asking, “If Newt’s big screen adventures are over, will there be book adaptations to connect the dots between the prequels and the beginning of Harry’s story? Do you care?” I think it is fair to say that I don’t care, maybe even obligatory to mention as I haven’t yet read the third screenplay or seen Secrets of Dumbledore. Trapped on a British Airways flight recently, I thought I would have a chance to watch it but the screening technology for the seat-backs failed, a turn I took as providential.

do care, though, about what Rowling writes, so here are my answers to those end of post questions, answers that include a more or less clear path forward to revive and reinvigorate the Beasts franchise. [Read more…]

Rowling Goes to War with Latest Anomie

 

Rowling today tweeted a six part take-down of Laura Elliot, a writer who accused Rowling of asking the Society of Authors to issue a statement about the “You’re Next” tweet she received consequent to the Salman Rushdie attack. While that tweeted bit of terrorism was never a credible threat in my opinion, Rowling was well within her rights to ask Twitter to take it down, which is to say, “to do their job,” at least as they understand policing their platform. In a nutshell, Elliot was slandering Rowling, Elliot had blocked Rowling from responding privately, Rowling gave Elliot both barrels in public, which unleashed that part of The Presence’s 14 million twitter followers who support her to dump on Elliot. Elliot retreated from the field of battle but did not retract her accusation or apologize. [Read more…]

‘Harry Potter’ Now on Legal UK Currency

I kid you not. We’re not talking Galleons and Knuts here but 50 pence coins — but still, is there anything that says ‘Shared Text’ more than having a character from a book on coinage within a country?

Here is the story as reported in an announcement from Bloomsbury, the publisher of the Hogwarts Saga in the UK and several other Commonwealth nations:

The Royal Mint launches a spellbinding coin collection ⚡

This week we wanted to share the exciting news that The Royal Mint have just launched an official 50p featuring Harry Potter, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Royal Mint’s craftspeople have faithfully reproduced one of Jim Kay’s iconic illustration of Harry in colour for the first time on official UK coins. Many of the coins in the range also feature an enchanting ‘latent feature’ which rotates in the light to reveal a lightning bolt and the number ‘25’.

Jim Kay commented: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It is the same for most aspects of publishing – because you are on your own all of the time in a studio, none of it quite seems real until you see the book on a shelf in a shop. Then you think ‘oh yeah! I did that!’ This is completely new to me though, a coin!”

They include a link to the Royal Mint’s interview with Kay, ‘Behind the Harry Potter Designs with Jim Kay.’ Reading stories at the BBC and The Mail, you’ll learn that this coinage is not a one-and-done; there will be other Potter-themed coins featuring the Hogwarts Express train, Albus Dumbledore, and the School of Witchcraft and Wizardy’s castle. The late Queen Elizabeth II will be on the reverse side of this year’s coins and King Charles III on later issues.

In the larger scheme of things, a Harry Potter 50p coin is not earth-shaking news. Rowling tweeted today about protests outside the UN in support of the people’s protest against the Islamist regime, about a ‘transgender’ takeover of a bathroom in Mexico (and the misogynist violence in that country women suffer), an Iranian professor who has courageously defied the regime in Tehran, forfeiting her safety and almost as certainly her career. This coin that features Rowling’s Potter is, relatively speaking, small beer; it remains a tribute, however, to this storyteller’s artistry and its continuing hold on the 21st century reader.

Hat-tip to Professor Stauffer for the link!

 

Shared Text: ‘NYC Sort of Like Hogwarts’

Project Veritas suckered a staffer for New York City Mayor Eric Adams into saying out loud what people are only allowed to think. He agreed with the person he didn’t know was filming and recording his conversation that New York is a violent, dangerous place to live now — and that was more than okay.

How did he express this? With a Harry Potter reference, of course: “I’ve just always joked, New York is sort of like Hogwarts. Like, it’s a lot of fun, great opportunities, and people die.” 

He was fired for this comment and the many others he made. I’m guessing that his all but saying the mayor of New York was on the take and had been for some time was what got his ticket punched rather than the Hogwarts allusion. I bring it up just to make the point once again that no other work of literature, divine revelation, or comic book inspired film series is referenced as often as the Harry Potter novels is today because its status as the Shared Text of everyone living means name-dropping anything about the books will be understood.

For the New York Post’s take on this story, see City Hall staffer fired after slamming city’s migrant response, cops.’

Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Conference: Today and Tomorrow in Philadelphia

The annual peak of Potter Punditry, at least with respect to gatherings, is this weekend in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb just north of Philadelphia, where Chestnut Hill College hosts the 2022 edition of ‘The Harry Potter Conference.’ I am home in Oklahoma this October but Hogwarts Professor Louise Freeman is representing and presenting, not to mention moderating a panel or two, and I suspect long time friends of this weblog, David Martin, David Gras, Lorrie Kim, Lana Whited, Kathryn McDaniel, and the local group, the Potterdelphians, may be there in addition to the Chestnut Hill hosts and conference co-ordinators, Karen Wendling and Patrick McCauley.

There will be the obligatory “special section” on ‘J. K. Rowling and the Transgender Community,’ which promises to be a struggle session for the non-Woke from the Cultural Revolution, alas, but Professor Freeman’s talk there should break things up a bit. The Plenary Speaker, also on this theme, will be offering a “revolutionary strategy” to “cultivate an all-inclusive Human Rights movement.”

The good news is that this year you don’t have to pay for the trip to and from Philadelphia and for at least an overnight stay in the City of Brotherly love; you can attend much of the Harry Potter Conference’s 11th edition online:

The Harry Potter Conference is a non-profit annual academic conference hosted by Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA). This interdisciplinary conference provides a forum for scholarly presentations arising out of J.K. Rowling’s literature. The conference is open to the public (registration required). The 2022 Conference is mainly IN PERSON with supplemental ONLINE ONLY sections planned for international (non local) and invited speakers. The IN PERSON sections will be live-streamed, allowing for online viewing, while the ONLINE ONLY sections will be fully online. There are large screen viewing options for in-person attendees to view the online presentations. We are asking that you indicate your intention to attend the conference ONLINE or IN PERSON by selecting that ticket type, though all attendees will be given permission for online viewing in case your plans change. 

You can register here for those online possibilities. It’s a fun gathering and a great place to meet a host of like-minded and not-so-like-minded serious readers. Check it out if you’re in the area, if you can join in via the streaming option provided, or just surf the website for the talks scheduled. Enjoy!