Leaky Con 2009 Report: A Great Time!

All pictures below are courtesy of Toni Gras, photographer for the Harry Potter Fan Zone down under (and HogPro All Pro everywhere!). The complete Leaky Con photo album is online here. Thank you, Toni, for giving me permission to post your great pictures! Toni’s Leaky Con article for HPFZ is also now online — check it out.

Where to start? Well, the location, of course! Leaky Con was in Boston’s spectacular Park Plaza Hotel, which comes complete with its own Ballroom inside a Castle. A very long way from a High School Gym with banners the cheerleaders made before the big game. You knew walking in that you weren’t in Kansas any more. Magnificent lighting and special effects hangings by the Leaky Crew…




My first talk was with four other Potter pundits and writers, most notably Melissa Anelli, author of Harry, A History and the weekend hostess, and Lev Grossman, Time magazine’s book critic and author of The Magicians. I was embarrassed because I have written uncharitable things here about both Mr. Grossman and Ms. Anelli — and in person they proved to be charming, generous, intelligent, and down-to-earth people. I was surprised (and very disappointed?) to find that I was the only one on the panel with obvious Gilderoy issues; apologies to my fellow panelists and to all of you for my misjudgments and rush to dismiss some very thoughtful folks.


A Report on my Talk from another WeBlog:

What Would Dumbledore Do?

This past weekend at LeakyCon I went to a talk by John Granger, an excellent scholar and author (if you haven’t read his books, I highly recommend them), and while he was talking about Deathly Hallows he said something that really spoke to me. He was talking about what Dumbledore left Hermione (“Tales of Beedle the Bard”), and the specific task he had in mind for her, and he summed it up as follows: “Read a kid’s book, interpret its meaning, save the world.” Well, as you can imagine, that made me sit up and pay attention.

“Read a kid’s book, interpret its meaning, save the world.”

Isn’t that what the HP Alliance is about? Reading Harry Potter (the “kid’s book” part is arguable, I grant you). Interpreting its meanings. Using what we learn and discover to change our world for the better.

Hey Eric! John Granger writes academic books looking at different themes in Harry Potter. The ones I’m most familiar with are “Looking for God in Harry Potter,” “The Deathly Hallows Lectures,” “How Harry Cast His Spell,” and his newest one which isn’t out yet (it comes out July 7) which is called “Harry Potter’s Bookshelf.” He’s seriously one intelligent, funny, passionate, and humble guy, and his insights into the Harry Potter stories are amazing!

In Re — John Granger:

“Read a kid’s book, interpret its meaning, save the world.”

He was amazing! I’ve been devouring his new book.


My class on the Eyeballs in Deathly Hallows was a hit but only because of the All-Pros in the back of the room, especially Christina Semmens and David & Toni Gras (the picture below has Nadja Wolfe on my right and Christina and David on my left). Thank you four friends for making what could very easily have been a train wreck into a delight.


Another WeBlog Report:

My Leaky Trip

I lunched with Patty, Melissa and Brandy and saw Marie (of the reading group) sitting alone and asked her if she would care to join us. We ended up making room for John Granger and someone else who was with him (I am so sorry I do not remember her name but she was very nice and very interesting). I told him about how I read his book Looking For God in Harry Potter and the deep impact it had upon me. That was only a small part of the conversation but when he had to leave he came over to my side of the table and shook my hand and thanked me (HE THANKED ME) and said I had made his day (I MADE HIS DAY???). What a great lunch!!!


The best part of any conference for this writer is talking with serious readers, especially those who have read my books and are kind enough to share with me what they liked and didn’t like about them. Leaky Con was filled with these exchanges in between classes and events, all of which made me thank the Heavens for the role I get to play in the Potter-Mania circus.





  1. revgeorge says

    Because you’ve repented, John, of any uncharitable statements regarding Melissa, I’ll repent too. Not to say, though, that I still don’t have criticisms of some of her statements & positions. But that should have nothing to do with her personally. It’s awfully hard, though, to keep the two separate as we all know so well & thus are in need of constant repentance.

    Glad you had such a great time at Leaky Con. It’s good to see the impact you’ve had on so many people, helping them see the depth & richness of the HP story & of good literature in general. Hope the experience will be similar at Azkatraz.

  2. melanelli says


    I wanted to drop by and say thank you for coming to LeakyCon. You put up with the natural foibles we had on this our first go-round like a pro, and I can tell you everyone is appreciative of that.

    Sorry to barge in on your blog here; as you can imagine I scour the net for things LeakyCon related (we are just sending out our comment cards and are very excited to take in feedback and criticism to make LeakyCon 2011 the best it can possibly be) and your post came up. Thank you for such a warm and charitable response. I had quite a few people come up to me apropos of nothing and tell me what a great time they had at your main talk; I’m sorry I had to miss it (as you probably witnessed I was little more than a whirlwind with a head attached all weekend) but I did hear about it.

    As for anything uncharitable that’s been said about me, please don’t worry yourself. You contributed your time, money and effort to helping make LeakyCon memorable to our guests, which carries a lot more significance in my book. Everyone at the LC staff is grateful.

    Be well and I’ll talk to you soon,


  3. It is good to know that you had such a blessed time.

    ~“Read a kid’s book, interpret its meaning, save the world.”~

    Ah, dear -that made my heart leap 🙂

    ~Isn’t that what the HP Alliance is about?~

    It most certainly is! Bumps on the road and all (though, personally, I absolutely cannot associate you with Gilderoy in any way, other than you both possessing a lovely smile).

    Thank you so much for sharing all the beautiful photos!

Speak Your Mind