Literary Alchemy and The Hunger Games: Three Podcasts

I spent a good deal of time in my talk about Catching Fire last night at Full Circle Books discussing the alchemical symbolism of that second novel in the Panem Saga — the Pearl imagery and references, especially, but also the novel as albedo in the series and its own three stage process in the Quell — and the questions afterwards were almost entirely on that subject. Which shouldn’t surprise me, especially inasmuch as the Ring Composition of the books augments the hermetic punch you never see coming in this wild reading experience.

‘A Different Drum Beat’ recently wrote a very kind post about my work (among others!) but especially concerning Travis Prinzi’s and my efforts to explain literary alchemy and its renaissance post Potter in popular literature like Twilight and The Hunger Games. She linked to three podcasts Mr. Prinzi and I did two years ago on the subject, and, though it couldn’t include discussion of Mockingjay, it is still a valuable look at the how’s and why’s of alchemical artistry.

So, if you want to get a grip on Hunger Games’ inner magic and meaning, check out those 2010 Hog’s Head Pubcasts about Literary Alchemy right here: parts I, II and III. The ‘Ring Composition supplement podcast can be heard here. And let me know what you think!


  1. So I’m new to this blog (sort of — I’ve been stocking it for a while because I really enjoyed How Harry Cast His Spell) and became interested in Ring Composition after reading your post looking at it in The Hunger Games, with the meadow and such. Then earlier today I listened to this podcast — and was blown away. I finished, went and grabbed Goblet of Fire and looked through it, and then did push-ups to vent my excitement. Thank you so much for this. Your work has opened doors for me both in giving me new ways to examine the books I read as well as in my own writing. Literary Alchemy has been especially fun to learn about.

    Like I said, I’ve been a stalker here for a while, but I hope I will be able to be a part of conversations here more often from now on!

  2. Clayton Pearlstein says

    I, like Justin, have been following you for a while and have grown very interested in ring composition and literary alchemy. I am really wanting to learn about literary alchemy. I have picked up Darke Hierogliphicks and A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery, I think I heard you mention them. And it seems you talk about it in the Deathly Hallows lectures, but I am not finished with Harry Potter stories yet. I have tried to read Harry Potter’s bookshelf with the thought that I would skip over the plot spoilers, but it proved rather impossible. So, I’ll get to the lectures when I finish, but for now are there any recommendations you could give me? Anything would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for all the podcasts and articles that you have put out. They have been incredibly inspiring and I look forward to reading more of your books once I have finished the Harry Potter stories.

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