Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Conference: Today and Tomorrow in Philadelphia

The annual peak of Potter Punditry, at least with respect to gatherings, is this weekend in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb just north of Philadelphia, where Chestnut Hill College hosts the 2022 edition of ‘The Harry Potter Conference.’ I am home in Oklahoma this October but Hogwarts Professor Louise Freeman is representing and presenting, not to mention moderating a panel or two, and I suspect long time friends of this weblog, David Martin, David Gras, Lorrie Kim, Lana Whited, Kathryn McDaniel, and the local group, the Potterdelphians, may be there in addition to the Chestnut Hill hosts and conference co-ordinators, Karen Wendling and Patrick McCauley.

There will be the obligatory “special section” on ‘J. K. Rowling and the Transgender Community,’ which promises to be a struggle session for the non-Woke from the Cultural Revolution, alas, but Professor Freeman’s talk there should break things up a bit. The Plenary Speaker, also on this theme, will be offering a “revolutionary strategy” to “cultivate an all-inclusive Human Rights movement.”

The good news is that this year you don’t have to pay for the trip to and from Philadelphia and for at least an overnight stay in the City of Brotherly love; you can attend much of the Harry Potter Conference’s 11th edition online:

The Harry Potter Conference is a non-profit annual academic conference hosted by Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA). This interdisciplinary conference provides a forum for scholarly presentations arising out of J.K. Rowling’s literature. The conference is open to the public (registration required). The 2022 Conference is mainly IN PERSON with supplemental ONLINE ONLY sections planned for international (non local) and invited speakers. The IN PERSON sections will be live-streamed, allowing for online viewing, while the ONLINE ONLY sections will be fully online. There are large screen viewing options for in-person attendees to view the online presentations. We are asking that you indicate your intention to attend the conference ONLINE or IN PERSON by selecting that ticket type, though all attendees will be given permission for online viewing in case your plans change. 

You can register here for those online possibilities. It’s a fun gathering and a great place to meet a host of like-minded and not-so-like-minded serious readers. Check it out if you’re in the area, if you can join in via the streaming option provided, or just surf the website for the talks scheduled. Enjoy!

MuggleNet Reviews ‘Ink Black Heart:’ Harry Potter Fandom Reversing Course?

Irvin Khaytman, author of Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster: An Unofficial Exploration and longtime columnist at MuggleNet.com (where he writes under the pseudonym hpfanboy13), has written a review of Ink Black Heart. [The original article was taken down after I posted this piece; it can still be read at The Wayback Macine archive.] I recommend it with enthusiasm for three reasons.

First, Khaytman is worth reading about anything Rowling writes because of his profound grasp of Potter canon, his wit, and his capacity to turn a phrase to delight and cuff the chin of his reader. An ‘hpfanboy13’ piece on Potter, Fantastic Beasts, or the Strike series is sure to challenge the reader, maybe even make her or him raise either a fist or a toast, and to re-think whatever subject Khaytman explores, to contradict or support his argument.

Second, he knows his Cormoran Strike, though not as well as he does Harry Potter, alas, and is familiar with some of the ideas we discuss here, most importantly, the Parallel Series Theory and the Seven Book Ring. His takes on the echoes of Half-Blood Prince in Strike6 alone are worth the time invested, as you’d expect from this caliber Potter Pundit, and make his decision to write the review for MNet before reading work others have written here and elsewhere seem well-founded.

His ignorance of how ring composition works, of the 5-6 Flip idea, of literary alchemy, of mythology, and of Strike Extended Play, however, will leave those who have been part of the Ink Black Heart conversation here scratching their heads when reading his confessed confusion about some topics and his certainty about others (he’s sure about how 100 pages could be cut from Troubled Blood without affecting the narrative, for example; only someone clueless about the clockwork structure and inner relationship of the Strike5 story parts could say this without blushing). Rowling’s intertextuality or literary allusion, too, outside of references to the apposite Potter book, seems to have totally escaped his consideration.

Despite those failings and blind-spots, I loved Khaytman’s review and his subsequent conversation in the post’s comment thread with Beatrice Groves. I laughed, I groaned, I rubbed my chin and re-read parts that were especially thought-provoking. He is sui generis and a boon to Serious Strikers, a breath of fresh air, really, and a welcome voice. [Read more…]

Rowling and the Scottish Enlightenment

Three quick questions and answers about this telling tweet after the jump! [Read more…]

Ink Black Heart: Strike Ellacott Files Podcast Episode One ‘First Impressions’

There is at the time of this posting only one podcast devoted to the Cormoran Strike series, ‘The Strike Ellacott Files.’ Other Rowling sites with a Harry Potter fandom audience, podcasts on which sites previously had discussion of the author’s current work, have with Ink Black Heart decided not to allow Strike conversation any longer. See HogwartsProfessor posts here, here, and here about their previous podcasts.

Check out their ‘First Impressions’ podcast episode which was put out very soon after the book’s publication. It is not, consequently, a profound look at the book and does not include any of the subjects we have begun to cover here at HogwartsProfessor. If you can handle the coarse language and share the podcasters’ delight and excitement about the romance elements in Strike6 — and all of us here do to some degree, I think — it’s a fun chat with friends who know the books very well. Enjoy!

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2010 ‘An Evening with John Granger’

the LR Visiting Writers Series presents: An Evening with John Granger

I found this recording of a talk I gave at Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2010 while looking for the vimeo recordings of my Potter Pundit class talks (so far no luck in finding those). The chief value of this talk, I fear, is today only as a reminder of how gray my hair has become and of how long I used to be able to speak on Potter subjects without notes. My only memory of the event is conversations I had that weekend with Dr Amy H. Sturgis, then a professor at LRU and still a leader in Rowling Studies (as she has been since 2000), and James Devine, an LRU alumnus and one of my nearest and dearest friends.

If you watch the video, please let me know the ways in which the last twelve years and the advent of the Cormoran Strike mysteries have changed what I say on such topics. I expect quite a lot! In October 2010, I had only just discovered Ring Composition and spoken about the idea at the Samsung Center in NYC to The Group That Shall Not Be Named (their real name). A long time ago…