Fan Film: Minerva McGonagall and the Phantom Brooch


Annie, Voldemort, & Orphanages: Were Sirius and Regulus Adopted Blacks?

A Guest Post from Randall Voigt inspired by watching Annie and reflecting on the curious relationships of the Dumbledores and Blacks in Rowling’s Wizarding World novels, screenplays, and play script: Enjoy!

Why This, Why Now?

My wife and I recently saw the Broadway musical, “Annie,” after having seen it decades ago.  Years after that first event, reading J.K. Rowling’s Half-Blood Prince, Ch. 13, about the London orphanage where Tom Riddle grew up, reminded me of Annie’s orphanage in the musical.  Seeing the play again, and hearing a church sermon about assumptions and expectations (using the film, “The Sixth Sense” as an example), got me thinking (“a dangerous pastime” – “I know”).

Recent Information (From the Past) Concerning Memory

In Rowling’s first Fantastic Beasts screenplay, Sc. 120, Jacob Kowalski is supposed to be Obliviated.  But in Crimes of Grindelwald, Sc. 35, Jacob reminds Newt Scamander that the Obliviating potion “only erases bad memories.”  So, Jacob remembers many of the events of Beasts.  In Secrets of Dumbledore, Sc. 46, Grindelwald extracts Yusuf Kama’s memory of his sister, Leta Lestrange, because Yusuf holds Grindelwald responsible for Leta’s death.  But, Yusuf seems to signal to Queenie Goldstein that he still has some memory of Leta, and that he will act against Grindelwald.  Yusuf does so, later in Secrets.  Maybe this is important in “Harry Potter” – about which, more in a minute.

The London Orphanage

Rowling describes the orphanage matron, Mrs. Cole, as “sharp” but “no novice to gin drinking.”  Mrs. Cole seems to be something like Miss Hannigan, who is in charge of the orphanage where Annie lives at the start of the musical.  Mrs. Cole may be kinder:  Rowling writes that she is “harassed-looking” and “more anxious than unkind” (Prince, Ch. 6).  Mrs. Cole certainly seems to be a nicer person than Mary Lou Barebone at her Second Salem Church (Beasts, Sc. 30). 

Mrs. Cole tells Dumbledore that she thinks Tom Riddle hung “Billy Stubbs’s rabbit,” and that “Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop were never quite right” after Tom led them into a seaside cave.  For a while now, I have wondered if the orphan Amy Benson might be the same person as Amelia Bones, present as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at Harry Potter’s Ministry hearing (Phoenix, Ch. 7) and later killed, about which Minister Fudge says, “We think [Voldemort] may have murdered her in person …. (Prince, Ch. 1).”  

But, isn’t the London institution a Muggle orphanage?  Maybe some things point to it’s not being so, or not entirely so.  [Read more…]

Beatrice Groves – Hits-and-misses, Folk Horror and Shakespearean Pastoral

To celebrate Halloween with a delve into the folk horror of The Running Grave, Beatrice Groves, Research Fellow and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written a Hogwarts Professor Guest Post: ‘Hits-and-misses, Folk Horror and Shakespearean Pastoral: Running Grave first thoughts’. To find out more about spooky ash henges, dreadful dollies, and magnificent magnoliajoin Prof Groves after the jump:

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Guest Post: The Father in Running Grave

Spoilers ahead! The subject is taken from a brief mention of a play two characters in London attend, an event in the excerpted Running Grave chapters released last week. If you don’t want to know about that, go no further.

Running Grave, Chapter 9

If you are like me, you let the reference to the play, The Father, in the extended excerpt that was briefly available to readers last week (available now only via screenshots like the above) skip right past you. I had not heard of the play or the movie adaptations so there was no ‘hook’ to catch my attention.

Lana Whited, though, one of the very few members of the Royal Society of Rowling Readers to have made significant contributions to Potter Punditry in all three of its critical generations, doesn’t need hooks; she knows that such asides in a Strike novel are almost surely meaningful. She sent me a brief note this morning about it and I asked her if I could share it here as a Guest Post. Enjoy!

While I definitely don’t consider myself to be a “Serious Striker,” I am intrigued that the play Robin and Murphy are seeing is Florian Zeller’s The Father, and when I looked up that title, I discovered some interesting, potentially meaningful facts. The original play is Le pere, which won the Molière prize for best play in 2014 and is part of a trilogy. The other two plays are (as you might guess) Le mere and Le fils. Le pere was first performed in September 2012 and ran in the West End of London in 2015. There is a French film adaptation called Floride and a 2020 film (directed by Zeller) called The Father with Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins. The 2020 film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Hopkins won for Best Actor. 

The main character in Zeller’s play apparently has lost a daughter named LUCY in the past (to an accident, apparently) but doesn’t always recall that she is dead as his dementia progresses. Based on descriptions I’ve read, the plays’ themes seem to concern whether a person can trust their loved ones, which sounds very familiar to those of us who have read the preview chapters. There’s an adaptation of The Son on Netflix, the third play to be written (about 2018). In addition, the main character is Pierre (anglicized as Peter and also Peter in the Netflix film), which may invoke John’s “John and Peter” theory nicely. 

This is all new information to me this afternoon, and I’m still processing it. But clearly the name of the play, like virtually every other detail in Rowling’s work, functions like a hyperlink to various associations that may turn out to be relevant.

Dr Whited is Professor of English & Director of the Boone Honors Program at Ferrum College and editor of The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon (2002), the first published collection of critical essays on the Hogwarts Saga, of Critical Insights: The Harry Potter Series (2015), and the long-anticipated third-generation (‘Generation Hex’) anthology The Ivory Tower, Harry Potter, and Beyond, to be published later this year. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her insights, check out The ‘Beasts Within’ of Fantastic Beasts: ‘Here Be Dragons (and Phoenixes).’

Chris Calderon – J. K. Rowling, the Beatles and the Counterculture Revolution

Yesterday, long time friend of Hogwarts Professor, Chris Calderon shared his insights into the shared 1960’s heritage of both Dylan Thomas and the popularisation of The I Ching. For me the most remarkable part of this find is the existence of a documentary, filmed in 2000 as J. K. Rowling was approaching a similar level of fame, about the Beatles featuring Rowling herself. Today, Chris will take us through this film and her appearances – enjoy!
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