Search Results for: hanged man

Hogamanay, Scottish New Years = A Clue to the Meaning of Hogwarts?

Before we get too far from New Year’s Day, here is an interesting possibility. Could the ‘Hog’ in ‘Hogwarts’ be more heavenly than porcine? According to Robert Trexler, friend of this weBlog and authority on George MacDonald, there is a possibility that ‘Hog,’ at least in one Scottish celebration, Hogamanay (“New Year’s” to us), the ‘Hog’ means ‘holy.’ He writes: [Read more…]

Beatrice Groves: Easter Eggs on J.K. Rowling’s New Website – Part 1

Beatrice Groves, Research Lecturer and tutor at Trinity College, Oxford, and author of  Literary Allusion in Harry Potter, has written a Hogwarts Professor Guest Post looking at the Easter Eggs on the new J. K. Rowling Stories website and what they tell us about the author and her influences. Join me after the break for the first of two posts, and enjoy…

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TheRowlingLibrary: Kloves and Rowling

TheRowlingLibrary.com, a website and an online fanzine, has just published their December 2019 issue, and it’s a good one. The feature article of #36 is about J. K. Rowling and Steve Kloves and the much neglected change in their relationship with respect to the Fantastic Beasts series (in brief, Kloves is now not only an Executive Producer in his role as Rowling Re-writer but actually credited as a co-writer). That’s worth the time it takes to download issue in itself, but there’s more.

In addition, there is a review of all the Headline Generating Events of 2019 in Harry Potter fandom and an in-depth survey of the Christmas celebrations in each Harry Potter book. If you’re like me, both of those pieces will have several “I forgot all about that!” forehead slapping moments. There is also a wonderfully out-there piece by S. Sipal on the new Rowling twitter header with its Tarot card theme; Sipal, perhaps the world’s leading expert on the Fantastic Beasts film franchise esoterica and inside baseball, links the Tarot cards to possibilities in the next Beasts film.

This is all great material and fun reading! TheRowlingLibrary creates a fun and beautiful product and deserve your attention and support.

Is it perfect? No, but what is?

I suspect you’ll be as disappointed as I was that this issue went to press before the Tweet Heard Round the World, Rowling’s #IStandWithMaya Ezra Pound moment on 19 December, the 2019 event most fans will remember as the biggest news of the year. And why no mention in the Christmas survey of Beatrice Groves’ delightful LeakyCauldron posts on the Christmas Roses and Why a Basilisk fears the Rooster’s Cry?

And I just blushed at the Sipal piece on the Tarot Cards because she doesn’t know, as Evan Willis pointed out at HogwartsProfessor in August, five months before Rowling posted the three cards on her Twitter page, that these cards are featured on the cover of Blue Oyster Cult album, Agents of Fortune. They’re not about the Fantastic Beasts movie at all, alas, but the Cormoran Strike mysteries in which at least one Serious Striker believes the song ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ acts as something like The Prophecy does in Harry Potter. [For more on Rowling and the Tarot, read the three posts I wrote on The Hanged Man card here at HogwartsProfessor.]

Those are nit-picking criticisms, though, that only demonstrate how closely I read every issue of TheRowlingLibrary when it comes out! I recommend you download the current issue and read it yourself.

‘Alchemical Gardens & Fantastic Beasts’

Brady Pendelton has posted a hermetic interpretation of J. K. Rowling’s first two Fantastic Beasts screenplays,Alchemical Gardens and Fantastic Beasts.He spends most of the essay discussing traditional English literature’s alchemical stream with special attention on the meaning of Garden imagery and symbolism. Almost all of that was new to me and it proved a delightful challenge.

When he gets to the discussion of Fantastic Beasts, the text becomes challenging in a different way and I found it difficult to follow his argument or to see the connections he does between alchemy and the transformations taking place in the first two films. Even in my hurried reading, though, I couldn’t fail to be impressed by some of Mr Pendelton’s points, especially those about Jacob Kowalski, whose last name, it turns out, means ‘Smith.’ You don’t get much more metallurgical than that and even in the first movie the changes he goes through are remarkable.

Are there problems with the essay? Sure. I found one distracting mistake, for instance, the assertion that Newt “asks Jacob” to be obliviated at the end of Beasts. There may be more missteps I missed. I enjoyed his discussion of Marvell and the aside about ‘The Hanged Man.’ Your mileage may vary; it’s pretty esoteric stuff and the argument is not conventionally discursive. I wish, too, there had been a lot more on the screenplays and its alchemical content, especially Crimes of Grindelwald. He doesn’t mention the couples as representatives of the four elements, Dumbledore and Grindelwald as the Quarreling Couple of Mercury and Sulphur, or Nicolas Flamel.

Those problems aside, though, it’s a serious bit of writing about literary alchemy and Rowling’s latest Wizarding World writing adventure. GiveAlchemical Gardens and Fantastic Beasts the time it and the subject merits — and then let me know what you think of it in the comment boxes below!

Cormoran Strike: Lethal White

Lethal White has been a focus at HogwartsProfessor since the publication of Career of Evil in 2015. This Pillar Post for ‘Strike4’ is a gathering and organizing of more than eighty of the more important articles that discuss Lethal White directly or indirectly. This list was most recently updated on 22 June 2019.

I urge the first time visitor researching the subject to listen to the ‘Reading, Writing, Rowling’ podcast about Lethal White which gives a fun introduction to and fire-hose survey of the key topics. From that beginning, either work your way down the list or jump to the subjects which most interest you.

Happy surfing!

Introduction/Overview/Key Points

Lethal White as Turning Point of Seven Part Ring Cycle

Literary Alchemy and the Mythic Context

On ‘White Horses’

Louise Freeman’s Lethal White Posts

Series Mystery Possibilities

Literary Allusions and Influences

The National Health Service Sub Plot

Miscellaneous:

Rowling Interviews, Twitter

Prepublication Predictions and Speculation

In a nutshell, the theory is that Jonny Rokeby was responsible for Leda Strike’s death, a ‘hit’ that he arranged to insure that she would never reveal what she knew about crimes he committed as a Deadbeat, crimes to include murder, in conjunction with heroin and the drug trade. The ‘White Horse’ that Rowling has been teasing readers with this past year may involve an actual stallion but the larger meaning of the clues is heroin, for which ‘white horse’ is a street euphemism.

Postpublication Scorecard