Guest Post:The Power of Words and Story on a Young Mind

Cathy Leogrande wrote:

John, I just wanted to let you know what a critical part of my son’s life you have been for the last few years. Here is a posting I wrote regarding my/our HPEF Legacy:

I have been an attendee & presenter at every HPEF event since The Witching Hour. Those days in Salem truly changed my life. I wanted to share a few details to show my appreciation for all that HPEF has done for my son & me.

I am an Associate Professor of Education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. My son Joey is a Korean-American adoptee who is very bright, but struggled with literacy. He had a rocky road in school over the years. He had educators who saw his unique talents and others who stereotyped him. It was trying to help our son see past some of the problems and maintain his optimism. One of the only ways he survived and thrived was our annual trip to the HPEF conferences.

From the pajama party at Lumos, through the crazy evangelicals at Portus and memorial room at Prophecy, we have been with HPEF every step. He now attends Fordham University. Wherever he goes, he takes Harry, JKR, and the memories of HPEF conferences with him. His college essay (below) attests to the impact HPEF has had on him.

As for me, I developed & teach a graduate education course, EDG 731 (for Harry & JKR’s birthdays) entitled Harry Potter: MultidisciplinaryPerspectives. I have been fortunate to combine my personal and professional love of Rowling’s work into so many aspects of my life. This summer, I will be one of two U.S. professors presenting at Magic is Might, the first international academic Harry Potter conference in Limerick, Ireland.

I will never be able to repay the many HPEF volunteers & organizers for their gifts to Joey & me. What a journey it has been!


Cathy Leogrande, Associate Professor, Le Moyne College [Read more…]

Guest Post: ‘Catching Fire’ Screen Play? We’ve Got It!

No, we haven’t found the movie script in a Burbank dumpster. We have, however, the next best thing, I’d say something even better — a serious reader’s screenplay-outline based on both a close reading of the books and a three act drama structure as used by Hollywood. Here is the exciting letter from Hana McCarthy that lays out what the Catching Fire film will look like if produced by someone who gets what the story is about, namely, Katniss’ interior and exterior transformations, the spiritual and the political!

Hi John,

I have lately been having fun learning about the structure of movie scripts and I decided to share my new-found learning by imagining how I might structure a Catching Fire screenplay.  I quickly discovered it was no easy task.   For better or worse I’m forwarding some of the fruits of my mad midsummer night’s labors with you and, if you like the idea, with fellow Hogwarts Professor readers. The discussion has already started on an older thread and I hope you agree this deserves a new home.

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Guest Post: ‘The Avengers’ Movie — What Did You See?

After my last stab at a movie review, the HogwartsProfessor faculty revoked my season viewing pass at Doc Films and asked me to refrain, please, from upsetting our readers who love, y’know, film. So, it’s a grand good thing that one of our All-Pros went to see The Avengers last weekend as did every other American (and a cousin), present company excluded not having a pass, and wrote something up about it.

This post  is from Susan Raab (, a marketing strategist, high-conversion copywriter and best selling ghostwriter who would really rather be reading — she tells me — the latest HogPro recommendation late into the night, or teaching another “Christian Content in Harry Potter” class for her contemplative prayer group, or writing her own book for Heaven’s sake.

The Avengers: Integral Alchemy

Mercy, the Deathly Hallows opening weekend record has been smashed by what, a mythic mash-up of comic book goons? How random is this?

Perhaps not very. HogPro trained to look for patterns, I was astonished to see one in this promo shot (below the jump!), and suddenly the whole phenomenon made sense. [Read more…]

Guest Post: Your ‘Catching Fire’ Director’s Cut, Please!

In response to my post about the Hunger Games Film Franchise’s parting-of-ways with Gary Ross and where this leaves the adaptation of the series (I think “potentially a much better or much worse place”), I received the missive below from Hanna, which is a series of questions most HogwartsProfessors raders and film lovers are more qualified than I to answer. So I post it here for y’all to discuss how you would adapt the second novel in a screenplay; have at it!

This news about the Ross being out really is true and after this huge media kerfuffle no one (neither Ross nor Lionsgate) is going to backtrack.  But I would really like to hear from thinking book-first fans like you and the HogPro readers about the direction Catching Fire (the movie) should take.  What would your director’s cut look like?

1. What would you emphasize?
2. What would you cut out (it can’t be 20 hours, after all)?
3. What would you add that the book did not include?
4. What would you aim for in casting and developing the characters of Plutarch Heavensbee and the Quarter Quell Tributes?

I haven’t thought about it enough, yet except that I think you have to have more time in the arena [in this film] and more time devoted to the political developments in the districts.  I think that means you have to spend a lot less screen time in District 12 than they did in Hunger Games.    Your thoughts?

Guest Post: Why is Harry Potter So Normal?

Here is a second post from our friends out west, Fr. Isaiah Mary Molano, OP, and April Tessarzik at Stanford, this one on an oddity of the Hogwarts Saga rather than the philosophical underpinnings of The Hunger Games. Enjoy!

Why is Harry Potter So Normal?

Besides the fact that Harry Potter is a wizard, the Boy Who Lived is a rather normal boy. In some ways, his lifestyle before the letters from Hogwarts appeared is rather unimpressive and ordinary.

Or is it?

As we all know, Harry grew up in a rather tough environment. He’s an orphan. At the beginning of Philosopher’s Stone, we don’t know what happened to his parents, but we can surmise that it is a sad story. His only peer is not a friend, but rather his cousin, Dudley, who has bullied him throughout his entire life. His aunt and uncle would rather ignore him—and they did so rather effectively for over ten years. All of Harry’s possessions are hand-me-downs of the meanest sort—his eyeglasses frames are broken at the bridge, and his clothes once belonged to the much-larger Dudley (HPSS, 14).

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