Guest Post: Heyden Russell on MinaLima Film Props Exhibit ‘From Weasley’s Shop to Soho: The Artwork of Harry Potter’

From Weasley’s Shop to Soho: The Artwork of Harry Potter

The job of the propmaster for most films is a very arduous task. In a fantasy film like the eight Harry Potter movies, however, the difficulty is increased tenfold. Rather than having to dress the sets and come up with props that match a specific place or a period in history, the visual design teams are assigned the task of creating an entire world and making film audiences believe that people actually live there. The results, in the case of the Harry Potter films, were some truly gorgeous props that really brought the wizarding world to life. Now several of those props have been deemed real works of art, and they’re on display at The Coningsby Gallery in London. [Read more…]

Guest Post: The Sidekick’s Journey — Neville Longbottom

The hot spots nation wide for serious study of Harry Potter, in my experience talking on campuses the last ten years, are places where a Professor is a Potter Pundit — think Pepperdine with James Thomas, Lawrence University with Edmund Kern — or where a class offered on the Hogwarts Saga has achieved something like cult status. Richard Priggie’s ‘The Soul of Harry Potter‘ course on Deathly Hallows at Augustana College is one of these and it has been my great pleasure to speak with this group (and other students at Augustana) more than once, always learning more from our exchanges than they could from me. Today I want to share an essay from one of these students, Mara Cantrell-Paulson, about Neville as Sidekick as a guest post. Let me know what you think! [Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘Treasure Island’ as Ring Composition?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island: An Exploration of its Possible Ring Composition Story Scaffolding

by Michael Murray

I would like to heartily thank Professor John Granger for drawing my attention to this book.

If any reader has not read it, or not read it recently then I urge them to do so; I have greatly enjoyed re-reading the book. The book was published in 1885, after having been serialised in the magazine Young Folks, between 1881 to 1882.

The scenes, characters, events are all very well realised; the seaman’s language is always used to great expressive effect, and never sounds unnatural, obscure or artificial.


The story is told wholly as narrative by the central character, young Jim Hawkins. The only times Hawkins is not the narrator are chapters sixteen, seventeen and eighteen when the narrative is supplied by Doctor Livesey.

The story is told in retrospect. It opens by explaining that the following is a record of the events and circumstances consequent upon the discovery of the treasure map of a notorious privateer/pirate Captain Flint.

For those unsure of the story by now, allow me a brief run-through. [Read more…]

Josh Richards: Melancholy Poetry as Inoculation

Melancholy Poetry as Inoculation, a Hogwarts Professor guest post from Prof. Josh Richards

Today, we examine my previous, curious assertion [in ‘The Congealed Fire of Poetry‘] that sad poetry is, indeed, a comfort for the hurting. At first, this may seem counter-intuitive but it is, in fact, quite well-attested. So much so, in fact, that I will merely bring you A. E. Housman’s take on the matter. I won’t even pretend to be a wiser man than he, so let me walk you through his discussion found in the poem “Terence, this is stupid stuff” instead of bloviating myself.

The poem is found here.

And I would encourage you to open the link in a new window, read it aloud, and return afterward.

Now, most objections to poetry, especially of the melancholy sort, are little different than the first stanza of Housman’s poem—allowing for the usual convention of using musical terms and language to refer to poetry.

[Read more…]

Guest Post: Twilight, Chastity, and Kristen Stewart

Twilight, Chastity, and Kristen Stewart: Wars and rumors of war and love and rumors of love

by joel emmett

The Internet imploded this past week when news leaked that Kristen “Bella Swan” Stewart, the highest paid actress in human history and girlfriend of her Twilight co-star, “sexiest man alive” Robert Pattinson, had a fling with her 41-year old, married, director of her recent “Snow White” film.

The public reaction was extreme, heated, and profuse. This is significant not only because of the human drama, but because of how and why this situation was so loaded by the themes of the Twilight Saga itself.

First, here’s what actually happened.
[Read more…]