John Goes on April Speaking Tour – and an Over-Qualified Guest Hogwarts Professor Fills In!

I’ve been away from HogwartsProfessor for a few weeks to get ready for Pascha (Christos Anesti!) and to prepare all the talks I’ll be doing around the country this month. I won’t be here this next week but I found a replacement that will make you hope I never come back, by name Elizabeth Baird Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels, and a contributor to the just released Twilight and History (ed. Nancy Reagin). A Harry Potter, Narnia, Spencer, Hunger Games, and Twilight wonk rolled into one and a real world Professor to boot! Thank you, Prof. Hardy, for taking the helm here. I’m looking forward to your posts!

My speaking schedule next week and the topics I’ll be discussing are listed after the jump. Please introduce yourself if you make it to any of them!

April 10 Saturday, “C.S. Lewis and the Inklings: Discovering Hidden Truth”

11:00-12:15 pm (40 minutes)  ‘Literary Alchemy in CSL’s Space Trilogy’   Oklahoma City University, Room 221

Literary Alchemy in C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy:                                                                                                                            The Foundation for Anagogical Artistry in Lewis’ Narniad

Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia thesis that C. S. Lewis’ Narniad was built on astrological scaffolding to deliver anagogical meaning has taken the world of Inkling scholarship by storm. What has been neglected in the borderline frenetic conversations consequent to Ward’s discovery is that Lewis had used as traditional a set of esoteric images and organizing principle in his Space Trilogy (aka The Ransom Novels). Years before the Narniad, Lewis was working literary magic by baptizing occult imagery and renewing the traditional stream of literary alchemy in English literature in popular fiction. John Granger, author of Harry Potter’s Bookshelf (Penguin, 2009), argues that Lewis’ artistry in his science fiction trilogy is alchemical with each novel representing one of the three stages of the ‘Great Work,’ the nigredo, albedo, and rubedo, with all of their attendant events and changes represented in the appropriate story. Lewis was expert in 16th century literary topoi, of course, to include the alchemical genius of Shakespeare and the Metaphysical poets but Granger believes it is the influence of Charles Williams, alchemical novelist, that shaped the structure and specific symbols used in the Space Trilogy. Granger explains how this artistry reflects and reinforces Lewis’ ideas about the intersection of faith, science, and the supernatural in the series, ideas explored by Sanford Schwartz and David Downing in their important works on the Ransom novels.

April 11 Sunday

Christ Church Anglican, 2112 Bryan Valley Commercial Drive, O’Fallon, MO, 7:00 PM.

Unlocking Deathly Hallows: Five Keys for the Serious Reader
Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer who uses specific tools to craft her meaning and create the effects in her readers that she wants – tools she borrows from Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, Lewis, and Dante! John raids Ms. Rowling magic tool chest and shares how she wields the tools of narrative misdirection, literary alchemy, the hero’s journey, postmodern themes, and traditional symbolism to engage and entrance us well beyond suspended disbelief. Always a hit with Potter fans of all ages, this lecture (and the book that it comes from) opens up the mystery of fine writing and its place in the life in Christ.

April 12 Monday

Clinton Building, 501 Campanella, Sikeston, MO, at  7:00 PM.

The Christian Content of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’
Ms. Rowling told reporters in 2000 that the last book would answer all their questions about her faith – and Deathly Hallows was no disappointment in that regard. John Granger was the first serious reader of the books to argue the stories were Christian in conception and meaning back when some Christians were burning the books. In this popular talk, he explains how the series finale is Ms. Rowling’s story about the difficulty and importance of faith, what we shouldn’t believe, and the transformations right belief make possible. The seventh book delivers on all the foreshadowing and themes of the previous books and John explains this in inspiring fashion.

April 15  Thursday

Centennial Hall Convocation, Augustana College: 10:30-11:20 a.m

Convocation Title: Why do We Love — or Despise — Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Novels?

Synopsis of talk: The Twilight novels and the films made from them are stories we cannot escape. Critics, as a rule, believe the books are trash despite sales of the books approaching 50 million copies. What do ‘Twi-Hards’ love about these novels that the critics are missing? John Granger, whom Lev Grossman of TIME magazine has dubbed “the Dean of Harry Potter scholars and Professor of Meyerology,” explains the allegorical and sublime “meat” in Mrs. Meyer’s romances behind the paranormal Young Adult love story, as well as the Latter-day Saint content in these Mormon parables. If you wondered why every book has its critical scene in a Mountain Meadow or the reason Bella and Edward’s baby and her birth are so bizarre, you don’t want to miss this talk!

If you want me to give any of these talks to your group, school, or church, write me at ‘John at’ Until next week, then! Thank you, Elizabeth!


  1. revgeorge says

    He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

    Save travels, John.

  2. Elizabeth says

    I’m truly honored to be filling John’s very large chair for a few days (feet dangling above the floor)! I hope he hasn’t introduced me too generously, but I do look forward to some fun and thoughtful discussions while the Midwest gets to enjoy his insights and we anticipate and pray for his safe return. Doesn’t this sound like a super line up? Perhaps some of the usual suspects here will get to enjoy some of these wonderful events.
    In the meantime, I hope the discussions here continue to be as delightful and thought-provoking as always, and that I can be as competent a substitute as the unflappable Professor Grubbly-Plank (but maybe more personable and without the pipe and monocle). Thanks, John!

  3. revgeorge says

    Elizabeth, I did buy the new book Twilight & History. Got the ebook. I’ll probably read it as soon as I read Spotlight on Twilight, which is to say, not very soon. 😉 Still I thought hard work & scholarship should be rewarded with a sale.

  4. Karen_St_Louis says

    John, I was really looking forward to hearing you speak in O’Fallon, but this Sunday just isn’t going to work for me. Hope all the talks go very well, and hopefully I’ll catch you next time you’re near St. Louis.

  5. That would be in Sikeston, MO, Monday night the 12th of April at the Clinton Building, 501 Campanella Drive, at 7 PM. What’s a little 2.25 hr drive one way to see the HWP?


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