MuggleNet Academia at Chestnut Hill College’s Harry Potter Conference: Two Hogwarts Professors in a Rousing Round Table

Louise Freeman and I meet with Karen Wendling, Patrick McCauley, Keith Hawk and Natasha Lei to discuss everything from Hons and Rebels to Aeschylus, Cormoran Strike to Nature Deficit Disorder, and a review of what is fast becoming the best annual gathering of Potter Pundits anywhere, the Chestnut Hill College Harry Potter Conference.

It was simultaneously delightful and intellectually challenging like the most wonderful of books. Every talk was a twist and a treat, the old school Hogwartsian campus (with Griffin flags everywhere), and the congenial company — quite a few friends from this site, I’m happy to say, as well as Potterdelphians — was equal to the head-spinning content of the conversations.

Anyway, click here to listen to the MuggleNet Academia live podcast recorded Friday night. I’m already excited about next year’s gathering — with hopes of seeing even more of you there!

The Living, Post 1: Names Do Have Meaning Out Here.

I’ve been wanting for some time to start a series of posts on Matt de la Pena’s The Living, and in light of the increasing concern about ebola– specifically, the sluggish response of a wealthier nations to diseases afflicting poor people of color, not to mention the conspiracy theories already cropping up– the book should attract even more interest.  With the sequel coming out on May 15th, we should have time to discuss the book fully before then.  But, rather than start with the germ class warfare angle, I am going to start with a look at the possible significance of some of the names of the key characters. The title of Chapter 11 is a line the mysterious Shoeshine tells Shy on the Paradise ship, “Names have no meaning out here.”  I am going to argue that they do.

Spoilers ahead!

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Life Imitates Art: Roots and Apple Day at MBC

Here at Hogpro, you’ve read about a variety of colleges that bear a striking resembles to Hogwarts. However, my home institution, Mary Baldwin College, chooses a Theme for each year. This year’s is “Roots.” I don’t know if whoever designed the celebratory banner, or its red-and-yellow color scheme, knew how close they were to imitating the Amity faction symbol from Divergent.

Even more fittingly, today is our annual Apple Day celebration, a day where classes are cancelled, the morning devoted to community service and the afternoon to a carnival. One of the major events is a trip to a local orchard for apple gleaning, with the gathered produce donated to local food banks.

Sounds like an cooperative endeavor between Amity and Abnegation, doesn’t it?  All we need is a few banjo players strumming their way around and we’d have a scene straight out of Veronica Roth’s epic series.  Minus the invading Erudite and their mind-contolled Dauntless army of course.

Of course, now I am wondering about the selection of future themes.  If there are any possibilities for words related to eyes, scales, fire or outstretched hands, we could soon have a full campus bedecked in Divergent-inspired banners.

But for today, I’m going to stay home, catch up on grading and prepare for my trip to the Harry Potter conference at Chestnut Hill in a couple of weeks.

Happy Apple Day, everyone!

The Living sequel to be released in May

From the Facebook of Matt de la Pena:

Yesterday I finished the final revision of THE HUNTED (sequel to THE LIVING). This story takes some crazy turns. And Shy’s story ends in an unexpected place. I’m so excited to get THE HUNTED into the hands of readers! MAY 12. Mark your calendars!

Well, if the sequel takes any more crazy turns than the original, it will be a pretty wild ride.  Now that I’m kinda sorta maybe getting back to keyboarding again, I hope to get my long-delayed The Living posts up (and LeakyCon, too, John!)

Shared Text: Teen heroine quotes Dumbledore at family’s funeral.

I am glad Ms. Rowling’s words could bring comfort to this brave young lady in her time of grief. She gets my vote for Fan of the Year.

UPDATE:  JKR apparently heard about the story and sent the young lady a letter “written” by Dumbledore himself.

The fandom world really does contain its own type of magic.