Goblet of Fire: ‘The Hungarian Horntail’ and ‘The First Task’ (Chapters 19 & 20)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapters 19-20

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F.” Put those responses to the Discussion Points in the ComBoxes below!

1. _____ Fear of the first Tri-Wizard Tournament task and annoyance about the teasing he gets from the Rita Skeeter article in the Daily Prophet makes Harry a bit touchy. He yells at Cho Chang who was only pointing out he had dropped a quill.

2. _____ Harry is so keen not to be bothered by others (especially Ron) that he wears his invisibility cloak into The Three Broomsticks. Hagrid is able to see him beneath the cloak and invites him to his hut at midnight. [Read more…]

Ms. Rowling Time Person of the Year 2007 (Runner-Up)

Time magazine has chosen its Person of the Year 2007 and, alas, it was not Ms. Rowling, who had to settle for ‘Second Runner-up.’ The good news is that despite not taking top honors, Dobby the house-elf, one of her magical creations was chosen Person of the Year. Wasn’t he?

The article about Ms. Rowling was pretty good, too, especially as it featured excellent quotations from two friends of this weBlog, Daniel Nexon of Georgetown and James Thomas of Pepperdine. What the article got right was the “reach” Ms. Rowling’s stories have in terms of the number of readers they have and the extent to which she shapes public conversation, even political discussion. I was especially delighted that they included this paragraph on the “reach” into readers’ hearts: [Read more…]

Goblet of Fire: ‘The Four Champions’ and ‘The Weighing of the Wands’ (Chapters 17 & 18)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapters 17-18

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F.” Write out your thoughts on the Discussion Points in the Com Boxes below the Quiz.

1. _____ When Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, Gryffindor explodes with cheers but every other house and the faculty are stunned and silent.

2. _____ Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff are outraged that Hogwarts gets two champions, “two bites at zee apple,” and the Head of Durmstrang demands that the Goblet of Fire be forced to choose another champion for the other schools. [Read more…]

The Tale of Charlemagne and Ralph the Collier

In all your free time, I hope you will be able to read this wonderful medieval legend. I am no fan of Charlemagne but a tale well told, especially one including both the Franks’ king being beaten by a coal gatherer and the bloodless conversion of a Saracen, is a treat I must share with my friends here. If the translator’s Becoming Charlemagne, published Tuesday, is half as much fun as this story, it must be a good purchase.

Postmodern Christmas: A Trip to Radio City (Travis Scholl)

From the Sightings WeBlog, a guest post:

Trangressive Irony at Radio City

Travis Scholl

At this time of year American culture is laden with customs, themselves laden with multivariant meanings. The Christmas Spectacular that takes place every year at Radio City Music Hall, for example, comes with its own set of traditions. The stunning simultaneity of the Rockettes’ high leg kicks…the complex choreography of the Wooden Soldiers…the condensed retelling of the Nutcracker story—most of the elements of Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, now in its seventy-fifth year, are told year after year, only with different choreography and new sets. [Read more…]