‘How Harry Cast His Spell’ Book Launch in Moscow: A New Translation Fifteen Years Post Publication — Just in Time?

I was invited last week to do an interview with a Ukrainian radio show or podcast about the new translation of How Harry Cast His Spell into Russian, a Nikea Books endeavor. I was more than skeptical about this, maybe even rude, because I did not recall Tyndale Books saying anything to me about translation rights for the book being granted to Nikea. I searched my email, though, and eventually found a 2021 note from Nikea asking me for those rights; I forwarded it to Tyndale and my agent — and never heard about it again.

I forwarded the interviewer’s email to a friend in DC who is fluent in Russian and he sent back a link to the YouTube conversation above. He reported that one of the panelists said that she had corresponded with me and thought I was anything but aloof. I searched my email again for an ‘Elizaveta’ and once again found the person in question. I even shared one of our conversations about alchemy in a 2015 HogwartsProfessor post.

My friend in DC reported, too, that the Orthodox priest in the panel’s audience who talks in the last ten minutes of the video was receptive to my book’s thesis. That’s a relief; now if we could only get a Christian publisher in Greece to print a translation in their language, I’d have something to give my nay-sayers in most Orthodox Christian countries.

The funny thing? I couldn’t write How Harry Cast His Spell today knowing all we now do about Rowling’s core beliefs, life experiences, political and religious opinions, and formative psychological crises. There is a surfeit of Christian content in her Harry Potter novels and she was writing I believe to foster a transformed vision and imaginative experience of resurrection in Christ, but I’d have to pull way back on the suggestions just beneath the surface of that book’s pages that Rowling is any kind of traditional or ‘orthodox’ believer. She may qualify as a conventional ‘Big Tent’ Anglican Christian, but even 85% of the global Anglican Communion thinks that is well short of the faith once received for all time.

Our project at the Substack HogwartsProfessor and our ‘Rowling Studies’ podcast there is to move to the fourth evolution or generation of critical thinking of the author’s work, a perspective much less focused on the latest book or the one about to be published than on her work as a whole and on both the ‘Lake’ or biographical content as well her ‘Shed’ artistry and meaning. That’s a quantum leap in quality and perspective from the work I was doing in 2008 in the wake of Deathly Hallows’ publication; I’m proud of that work and will gladly talk about the Hogwarts Saga’s Christian content, but there’s much more to those books and to Rowling than could have been written at that time.

Copies of the Russian translation are only available to Western readers online through a book service in Helsinki (I kid you not). You can read 22 pages of the translation at the Nikea Book’s page dedicated to it (well, you can read it if your Russian is up to snuff). I recently purchased the rights to How Harry Cast His Spell back from Tyndale and hope to be publishing an updated guide to each of the Harry Potter novels beginning with Philosopher’s Stone in 2024. Stay tuned to the Substack HogwartsProfessor and Rowling Studies for more on that adventure.

Here is a machine translation of the Russian text beneath the video above in case you’re interested. Beneath it is a demonstration of what Artificial Intelligence can ‘create’ in images when given the command “Imagine a Party at Hogwarts.” Even five years ago, I think these pictures might have passed as genuine photographs. Scary.

Translation: Why today it is necessary to read “Harry Potter”

 “It is possible to find happiness even during dark times” Presentation of the book “How Harry Enchanted the World”

 980 views, 3 weeks ago,  Nov 30, 2023

On November 21, the Pokrovsky Gate Cultural Center hosted a presentation of John Granger’s book “How Harry Hexed the World.” The amazing world created by JK Rowling has not left anyone indifferent for more than twenty-five years. 

 But why? 

 The story of a young wizard is not just another fantasy book for teenagers. This is a fascinating dialogue with the reader, almost spiritual literature, in which the author, through vivid images and mysterious symbols, tries to convey important meanings to readers.

The publication of J. Granger’s study “How Harry Hexed the World” is a good reason to return to the conversation about history, which somehow helps to live in the present, even in such a difficult, dark present. Why is it possible and necessary to read Harry Potter today? 

We invited our guests to answer this question: – Elizaveta Kasilova – Candidate of Philological Sciences, Higher School of Economics, specialist in the works of J. Rowling. – Maria Steinman is a professor at the Higher School of Economics, a researcher of the fantasy genre. – Victoria Malakhova is a journalist, author of the Vitok telegram channel and the Contents podcast. 

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