Big News Day at HogPro

Yesterday was an event-filled day for Hogwarts Professor! News regarding The New York Times, The Arts and Entertainment Network, two Harry Potter Conferences, and changes at the Zossima Press website — not to mention that a friend won a world-wide Fandom contest…. Here is a brief catch-up with the news in this cyber corner of the PotterVerse:

(1) Article in the New York Times

Ms. Tomoko Rich contacted me on Monday for a Times story she was writing on tight deadline about spoilers and speculation in the frenetic countdown to the release of Deathly Hallows. We talked for about half an hour about various theories and why I thought people were so involved in the stories (the question I try to answer in each of my books). If you haven’t read Defenders of Secrets, Unite!, it’s a fun read highlighting the omnipresent Emerson and Melissa and their battle with folks trying to spoil the delight of Deathly Hallows for all of us. I am mentioned at the tail end of the article:

John Granger, a professor of Latin and English at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa., has written two books about the series and edited a third called “Who Killed Albus Dumbledore” that is filled with predictions.

He also runs a discussion group at “I’ve seen really intelligent, really literate women and men discuss these points and provide more than cogent arguments that Snape is X, Y or Z, and they all make sense in terms of all the clues she’s given in the book,” Mr. Granger said. “This has probably been the most fun that intelligent people can have with their clothes on in the 21st century.”

No doubt this article, because it mentions HogPro, has brought a few new readers to this site (it certainly boosted sales of Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, Unlocking Harry Potter, and even Hidden Key to Harry Potter from 2002!). To those readers, “Welcome!” If you’re looking for HogPro’s Greatest Hits, here is a quick menu:

* An Introduction to the Five Keys for the Serious Reader featured on this site

*Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as Postmodern Drama

*Ms. Rowling’s use of Narrative Misdirection: by Severus and Albus via the ‘Scar-Horcrux’ (Scar-O-Scope) and by other characters in the series

*Traditional Symbolism in Harry Potter: “Obviously Dumbledore is Not Jesus” and the reason Ollivander uses the Wand Cores he does, and

*The meaning of the title Deathly Hallows and Dumbledore’s four word speech at the Sorting Feast in Philosopher’s Stone

Many of these articles seem to have been reformatted when the site crashed last month so that all quotation marks are replaced by interrogatives (“?”). My apologies if this distracts you as it does me. My house-elf is on summer vacation but it should be fixed early in the fall.

If you enjoy these posts, you’ll love Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader. Reading it may be the best way to get through the last days of the Interlibrum.

(2) Enlightening 2007 and Prophecy 2007

I spent the day preparing my talk for the first Harry Potter conference at a major University, namely, Enlightening 2007 at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s 12-15 July in nearby Philadelphia and has a host of children, tween, and adult talks and presentations. I’ll be speaking that Friday about my experiences as a daddy and homeschooling parent with the books and why I think we love them as we do.

I learned yesterday, too, that Prophecy 2007 had approved both my talks at that Toronto conference in early August. Here is what they’ll be printing in the programs about those talks:

The Alchemical End-Game: The Rubedo in *Deathly Hallows*

Ms. Rowling has said that her study of alchemy set the magical parameters and internal logic of her Harry Potter novels. John Granger, author of Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader, is the leading authority on Literary Alchemy in Fandom. He has explained at how *Phoenix* and * Prince* were each a step in the alchemical work and featured images, themes, and the death of a character with a name specific to that stage. *Hallows*, consequently, is expected to be the final, red stage or Rubedo, complete with the Alchemical Wedding, the resolution of contraries, and perhaps even the death of the red character or characters (Rubeus, Rufus, and the Weasleys.). Granger’s talk on Alchemy at Nimbus 2003 was chosen “Best Presentation” of the 65 talks and panels in Orlando. His talk on the alchemical meaning of *Deathly Hallows* promises to be at least as good.

Harry’s Victory over Death: The Christian Content of *Deathly Hallows*

For several years, Christian objections to Harry Potter were “*the* Controversy.” John Granger helped slay that dragon. His Looking for God in Harry Potter, by approaching the books as literature and explaining how the books could only have been written by a Christian within a Christian literary tradition made the idea that the books were demonic hard to take seriously. Granger’s discussions of the themes, resurrection motifs, and specific images of Christ (the phoenix, unicorn, Philosopher’s Stone, white stag, griffin, etc.) Ms. Rowling uses has made it clear that she is what she says she is, namely, a Christian artist. She told an interviewer in 2000 that her faith would be evident to any reader after the seventh book. Join the entertaining authority on Rowling as a Christian author in his lively discussion of the *Deathly Hallows*’s Christian content and the similarities and differences between Rowling, Lewis, and Tolkien.

I hope to see you in Philadelphia and Toronto!

(3) A&E Network Phoenix Special’s Title, Date, and Time Announced

I was interviewed back in May by the folks at New Wave Entertainment for the Warner Brothers approved teevee special about the soon-to-be-released Order of the Phoenix movie. It was a lot of fun both because the NWE people were so high speed in their knowledge of the books (can you say “literary alchemy”?) and because I got to meet Janet Batchler and spend some catch-up time with Steve Vander Ark, aka Lexicon Steve.

Yesterday NWE wrote to say that the A&E special has been finished and okayed by everyone involved. The title is The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter and it will air on 8 July on A&E at 10 pm. There is a good chance A&E will re-run the special frequently until 21 July and that Warner Brothers will include it in the DVD extras when Phoenix is released in that format. Here’s hoping I didn’t have any seaweed on my front teeth during the interview….

(4) Autographed Copies of Books Available at

I have received a few notes from readers (collectors?) wanting to know how to get autographed copies of my books. Uh-oh. Gilderoy moment… Okay, it passed.

Every book of mine purchased through the Zossima Press website goes out autographed and, if requested, personalized with the name the person buying it wants me to write.

There are two other changes at the Zossima site you might enjoy. One, they’ve put up two beautiful songtracks from Linda Simms’ Celtic Harp CD they’re selling (which, if your computer is like mine, will play while you surf that site) and, two, they’ve updated the Unlocking Harry Potter media kit. Now you can read the introduction to the book en toto as well as see the Table of Contents and the glowing reviews. Neat!

As I said, yesterday was quite the day! To top it off, one of the neater people breathing air on earth, Ann-Laurel Nickel, the Sponsoring Head-Witch of Sonorus 2007, was selected by Barnes and Noble as the winner of their Harry Potter contest for B&N employees everywhere. Ann-Laurel is easily the biggest fan of the books I know so her victory is not a surprise but a special delight — because the prize is coming to NYC for the Midnight Magic Party at B&N’s Mother Ship Store in Manhattan. Jim Dale will be reading.

And Ann-Laurel will be there wearing her Lion Hat, I hope!


  1. Arabella Figg says

    Congratulations, John! You must be on Cloud Nine (or on a metaphorical Firebolt zooming around high in the air). You deserve all of this and more.

    We don’t get A&E, so I hope to see the WB special on the OotP DVD.

    I feel that, in relation to what you’ve done in countering negative Christian reaction to Harry Potter, Ms. Rowling owes you a big thank-you.

    Oops, the kitties are climbing the curtains and chewing the tassels,

  2. Travis Prinzi says

    Aaahhh, so that’s why my proposal, “God and J.K. Rowling” was the only one that didn’t get accepted at Prophecy! “The Christian Content of Deathly Hallows” covers the same theme. I’m quite glad you’ll be doing that talk, as I’m already quite overwhelmed by the 3 I’m already given.

    Very much looking forward to Prophecy and finally meeting you there.

  3. Thanks for the link, John. That was great. It has become part of our Potter experience to speculate with other readers, and that’s the part that is easy to miss–that’s such a unique experience in reading a series of books. I think it’s the part I will miss the most.

    LOL–the most fun we can have, indeed! Very funny, John. 🙂

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