Hogwarts Professor’s Greatest Hits: You Decide

In the right hand column of this weBlog, right underneath “Recent Comments,” is a handy set of links to “HogPro’s Greatest Hits.” The HogPro house-elves put this up at my request in June because I was asked about four or five posts on a regular basis — “Rita Skeeter Covers the Vatican” was probably the single biggest request when the site went down in May for almost a month — so I put together this short list from the old HogPro for newcomers to browse through without endless scrolling through pages.

The list hasn’t been updated, though, since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s time for a new set of Greatest Hits, right? We have room for ten. Please vote for your ten favorites in the cut-and-paste ballot below by writing in the letter next to the number in order of preference and putting the completed ballot in the comment box. If your favorite post isn’t listed, write it in. If you only like one or two, vote for them. I’ll see if I can get the new list up in the next week. Thank you in advance for voting — and have fun!

(A) The Thirty Deathly Hallows Threads

(B) A Rainbow of Gold, Black, White, and Red: The Alchemical Artistry of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ (A)

(C) The Christian Content of Deathly Hallows (A)

(D) “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay.” [ovation.]

(E) The Epilogue’s “All Was Well”: Context, Themes, and a Possible Literary Reference

(F) Harry Potter as “Shared Text”: Books and Meaning that will Define a Generation?

(G) Green-Eyed Beatrice and Lily: Gauging the Depth of the Dante Influence in the Harry Potter Novels

(H) Hugo Weasley: Dickensian Cryptonym Time

(I) Postmodern Story Telling: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

(J) The Five Keys and What Makes a Book ‘Great’

(K) Dragon’s Blood, Wand-Cores, and 3 of the 5 Keys

(L) “But Obviously Dumbledore is not Jesus:” The Hogwarts Headmaster as Christ Symbol in Half-Blood Prince

(M) Alchemy: Jung, Burckhart, or McLean?

(N) “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!” Four Words for “Other”

(O) Rita Skeeter Covers the Vatican

(P) Five Keys for the Serious Reader

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


  1. 1. G 2. L 3. A 4. E 5. P
    6. F 7. C 8. B 9. D 10. F

    The Dante post is actually 6 different posts, the Dumbledore as Christ figure the best of the Half-Blood Prince stuff here, and the 30 Deathly Hallows threads are must reads because of all the conversations you had there in the weeks after Potter Day in July.

    What are your top three?

  2. JohnABaptist says

    1.G 2.A 3. P 4.F 5.E 6.L 7.B 8.C 9.H 10.J

    Mostly the same as John’s picks in slightly different order, but dropping Dumbledore the Limp-Wristed. I have had quite enough of that topic, thank you.

    I drop L. somewhat further down the list than John does, as I think that it needs to be expanded into a perspective of all of the various Christ figures and the meaning of the relationships between them. If that happens, then I would shoot it way up the ladder. I brought P. up the ladder to third to emphasize to myself as well as others that we are not just fans here, we are also supposed to be serious and analytical…something quite difficult for me because I am an extremely rabid fan!

  3. 1. G 2. C 3. E 4. A 5. B 6. J 7. O 8. L 9. P 10. M

    Isn’t it interesting that so far, we all have put “G,” the Dante posts, at the top. On top of some great analysis from the past, the most recent is the best! Certainly proves you haven’t run out of important new things to say, John. You’ve inspired me to read Dante. I’m asking for a critical edition of his complete works for Christmas!

  4. 1.P 2.J 3.C 4.A 5.B
    6.F 7.E 8.K 9.L 10.M

    I didn’t include G because I had such a hard time getting my head around all 6 posts…not that they aren’t important to HogPro discussions, though. I’m just not at that level.
    My choices deliberately reflect what I consider to be the *essentials:* a wonderful combination of informative background and analytic material that allows me to intelligently talk *HP* without getting emotionally defensive about enjoying the books!

  5. A, B, C, G, I, L, M, P. Rumor

  6. I started reading the posts as HogPro sometime after reading HBP. I was so shocked by the ending of that book that I was driven to the internet for adult opinionand discussion. I stumbled onto HogPro and its many great posts/essays at that time and have followed somewhat closely since. I remember several good posts from the site’s old version and there was one about Severus Snape whose name I cannot remember and which I have looked for links to time and again in order to reread it. Alas, no luck. I have a short list of my personal greatest hits below. Any chance of “resurrecting” the Snape post/essay? There may even have been more than one. I read it around the same time as the “But Obviously Dumbledore is not Jesus” post. Actually all the posts around that time were quite thought-provoking and it would be nice to have a complete archive available form the beginnings of the HogPro site. So here goes . . .

    1. A
    2. Missing Snape post
    3. F (being from a generation without a shared text)
    4. C
    5. L
    6. E

    Thanks for such a great site of high-level literary discussion and criticism. This has been even better than some of my great undergrad lit classes. The only problem is the exposed holes in my education . . . The Christian framework for all of this is most edifying as well and only serves to deepen and broaden both our knowledge and experience. Many cheers to John and all the contributors who make this such a great place to stop by each day . . .

  7. I’ve been meaning to revise that essay in the light of DH… maybe I should really do it now. Since there’s been a request and all.

  8. JohnABaptist says

    Oh Please Do, Helen!

  9. I spent more than an hour yesterday trying to find a copy of the original essay to forward to Kathy. How much better it would be, Helen, if you would update it! I’ll be happy to post it here as a guest essay or just provide the link if you have another place you’d rather put it up.

    I’m really looking forward to reading it again and sharing your reflections on Snape with those who have not read them!

  10. Sorry about that, John! You don’t have a lot of superfluous hours lying around to burn!

    At the moment, neither do I… I’ve got a couple of papers and a final exam breathing down my neck. But by the middle of Dec I should be able to turn to the potions master.

  11. Arabella Figg says

    Helen, was it the Good Snape is Not a Square Circle essay? I loved that piece and saved it. I even priaised it on an earlier thread. Great exegetical work. If this is the one, I do hope you rework it.

    Squares, circles, the kitties only care if they move and can be chased…

  12. I’ve been reading your site since I read HBP, but have never registered. In fact, as soon as I read Kathy’s post above, I thought there was no time like the present to register and stick a “Ditto” to her words. I only need to add that your (and your colleagues’) writings opened a whole new dimension of the Harry Potter books to me and greatly increased my appreciation of them. I’ve refrained from posting to this point because I’ve not had anything to add, but since you’ve asked, my list (so far) is:

    1) Harry Potter and The Alchemist’s Cell: Alchemical Stray – Thoughts on the Final Chapter in the Harry Potter Saga
    2) A
    3) C
    4) ‘Good Snape’ is not a ‘Square Circle’ by H.M. Ketcham
    5) L
    6) “Harry Potter and the Baptism of the Imagination” by Carrie Birmingham, an essay you had a link to for some time
    7) Your “Why Half Bood Prince is the Best Harry Potter Novel,” simply for the stoppered death explorations
    8) I
    9) P

    In truth, I enjoyed them all a great deal, so putting a rank on them is a little arbitrary.


  13. Well, tabnc, you made my day! Here are two of those old HogPro essays, albeit on other sites.

    Carrie Birmingham’s essay can be found at Zossima Press’ site: http://www.zossima.com/hpandbaptism.htm

    ‘Good Snape is not a Square Circle,’ the 2005 version, is still online courtesy of the Sword of Gryffindor archives http://swordofgryffindor.com/articles/ and Quoth the Maven (Thank you, Travis and Janet! Helen, get to work!):

    Helen Ketcham’s Essay, “Good Snape is not a Square Circle” at Quoth the Maven:

    Good Snape, Part I: A Portrait of the Potions Master as a Young Man

    Good Snape, Part II: The Pedagogy of Severus Snape

    Good Snape, Part III: Severus Snape and the Long War

    Good Snape, Part IV: Voldemort the GRAE (split into two posts)

    #7 became the first chapter in Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? and #1 became the third part of the alchemy discussion in Unlocking Harry Potter.

    Thank you very much for ranking these and for your first post! Please let it be the first of many!

  14. Coppinger Bailey says

    1. G – although my favorite part of the long Dante thread is the “on Florence & Hermetic artistry” thread
    2. E
    3. A
    4. C
    5. P
    6. B
    7. I
    8. J
    9. F
    10. L
    I also love Carrie B.’s essay & am looking forward to reading Helen’s. Thanks for the links!

  15. Arabella Figg says

    I simply can’t rank these, I loved them all, especially But Obviously, Dumbledore is not Jesus. I also agree about the Baptism of the Imagination essay.

    Two other excellent Snape essays are:

    Severus Snape: Not Voldemort’s Man, An original editorial by Anthony Goldstein posted at http://www.mugglenet.com/editorials/editorials/edit-agoldstein01.shtml – 48k –
    Snape’s Eyes by Edmund M. Kern, posted at http://www.hp-lexicon.org/essays/essay-snapes-eyes.html – 114k

    I’m not saying they should be on the list, but they’re good reading. Snape’s Eyes focuses on his Legilimancy abilities throughout the first 6 books.

    Madame LaScrawney’s eyes are staring me down…

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