Beatrice Groves: Potter Meets Python!

Oxford University Research Fellow and Lecturer Beatrice Groves, author of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written two posts over at and her Bathilda’s Notebook there. They are both in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Monty Python television programs being aired on the BBC. Each points to hat-tips in the Potter novels that are almost certainly Rowling’s tribute to the masters of comic defamiliarization (and, yes, as my thesis in progress is a Formalist reading of the Presence’s work, it was a delight to see ostranenie in Groves’ post).

The first is about pointers in the Hogwarts Saga to Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ and the second is to ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ Cockroach Clusters! Who knew?

My only criticisms of these delightful pieces are that (1) Professor Groves doesn’t include links to either the Bookshop Sketch or to the Pornographic Bookshop Sketch with Sir Philip Sidney (and its hilarious ‘literary allusion’ follow-up) and (2) she suggests that Rowling is “responding to” allegorical readings of Dumbledore as Jesus by naming him Brian (she would have to be responding in anticipation if she was; the name appears in Prince and the meme appeared only after DDore’s death Half-Blood Prince).

Which are complaints only to demonstrate how closely I read Groves’ latest in my great delight of stumbling upon them while searching yesterday for the Alohomora podcast link. Here is the Bookshop Sketch for your enjoyment before or after reading Professor Groves’ fun posts on the shadow of Monty Python discernible in the halls of Hogwarts!


  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    Thank you for bringing these posts to our attention!

    It is intriguing that of all Dumbledore’s Christian names (so to say it), only Wulfric is that of a Saint (so far as I know) – as the Beati Brian Lacey and Brian Edmund Arrowsmith and the Venerable Brian Cansfield were only formally recognized as such after Dumbledore was born (though they were venerated as martyrs long before). And it may only be coincidence that Hogwarts’ founding took place during the reign of Brian Boru as King of Munster – though with Seamus Finnegan in mind, one wonders how early Irish Scoti witches and wizards were there (do ‘we’ as opposed to I, know?).

  2. Brian Basore says

    Terry Jones died yesterday at age 77. RIP.
    And to think I passed up a chance to pick up his book, Who Killed Chaucer?

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