Search Results for: hanged man

Blasphemous Symbolism? A Taliban Reading of Philosopher’s Stone

I received this question in the HogPro mail today:

John, I have a question and couldn’t find where to send it to you, so please forgive this nonsequitur “comment”! My son’s literature teacher (another home school mom) has told her students that the philosopher’s stone is a corruption of the Eucharist, a counterfeit of the Body and Blood of Christ. Would you care to comment on that? I think implicit in her lecture was that any writing about the philosopher’s stone is somehow inherently blasphemous. I’d sure appreciate your thoughts on this! Dare I thank you in advance of them?!

My response: [Read more…]

On Literary Influence: How Austen and Shakespeare Affect Rowling — and Vice Versa

Travis Prinzi, brother Potter blogger and fellow Zossima Press author, sent me an email two weeks ago about a Russian professor who believes that the best way to understand Voldemort is an echo of Dostoevsky’s character Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. He posted on the subject at Hog’s Head — a Pub for Potter and the conversation on the resulting thread was very good. The speculation that Severus was the real Raskolnikovian echo I thought was especially intriguing.

My thoughts about this went in a different direction, so, rather than hijack Travis’ post, I add my two thoughts here, namely, (1) that this kind of comparison confirms the theory that Ms. Rowling’s books will prove to be a gateway to English and World literature and (2) in a post-Deathly Hallows landscape where Harry Potter is the shared text, we will come to understand other books and the tradition as a whole through her books, like it or not. Literary influence is not a one way street, oddly enough, but sometimes works ‘present to past’ as well. [Read more…]

J.K. Rowling, Margaret Thatcher both “Great Britons” So Says Morgan Stanley [JAB]

Thanks to our friends at we discover that J.K. Rowling has pulled double honors in winning both the Overall and Arts catagories of the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards for 2007.

According to the article in, Ms. Rowling qualified for double honors because:

A publishing phenomenon, JK Rowling has changed reading habits and patterns worldwide. The success of the Harry Potter books – the final novel in the series sold 11 million copies in its first 24 hours – has united a generation of children and parents in a genuine love of reading.

The judges felt Miss Rowling had transformed the world’s view of Britain and that her books are “brilliantly British”. That she also managed to top the best-seller list in France with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the first English-language author to do so, is a further testament to her global appeal.

[Read more…]

Harry & the Vatican–che non è di pani[JAB]

In early January of this year, Harry Potter e i doni della morte the Italian language version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows went on sale in Italy.

In its January 14-15th issue, the newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, dedicated a full page to a Pro vs. Con debate on the merits of the Harry Potter series as a whole. I have not been able to locate an English translation of the articles, however for those of you fluent in Italian, reprints of the originals are available here.

And then the fireworks began.

HogPro yvaine was first to weigh in with this observation from Agence France-Presse. While this summary does note that two sides were presented in the debate, it spends most of its ink describing how “…the future Pope Benedict XVI…” condemned the series in 2003. (More on this subject later…)

Shortly thereafter, John Granger forwarded me a note from Norwegian HogPro, Odd Sverre Hove calling attention to this article from Australia (what a small world the internet has given us!) which presents considerably more of the pro side of the debate, but focuses its discussion of the con side around the statment:

“Under the headline “The Double Face of Harry Potter”, an expert in English literature, Edoardo Rialti, argues in L’Osservatore Romano that the Pope – then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – was right to worry.”

[Read more…]

“What Difference Has Harry Made In Your Life?”

Hans Andrea of Harry Potter for Seekers web site and the Harry Potter for Seekers Yahoo Discussion Group wrote me last week about a discussion we’ve been having about The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz (about which exchange there will be a separate post soon). As a throwaway afterthought he asked if I’d answer a question posted at the Yahoo group:

“What would have been different in your life had Harry Potter books never existed? It does not have to be anything monumental, I mean these ARE just books, but any change will do.”

I learned later this question had been the source of much self-reflection at the Harry Potter for Grown-Ups group and it certainly brought some thoughtful responses from the Seekers at Hans’ place.

It’s that time of year, when the end meets the beginning, when by nature we will look backward to have a better idea of how to go forward. Having just posted my look backward at HogPro posts and Harry Potter events from 2007, I will close the year with an invitation and request for your reflections about the ways, if any, Harry has changed your way of thinking or seeing things. Is it deeper, decidedly different, or have you been dumbed down by all your time reading children’s book instead of Frithjof Schuon and Fyodor Dostoevski?

My life [Read more…]