Harry Haters: Is the War Over?

Check out the 9-27-08 post at ‘The Wild Hunt Blog: A Modern Pagan Perspective’ called “Harry Potter Haters.” I think it is interesting both for the video clips of “We are Wizards,” the new wizard rock documentary being released in November, and the dated scare piece from 2001, and also because of its assessment that Harry Haters have become marginalized to the far periphery of even the Christian edge of the Public Square (as in ‘Chick Publications’).

Leaving aside the “pagan” aspects of the Wild Hunt Blog and its disdain for even the legitimate concerns any thinking person has about the occult, I suspect it is true that bashing Harry Potter as a means to identify oneself as a Culture Warrior and True Believer is an activity that has “jumped the shark.” I know there are enclaves of Harry Hating here and there and individuals in many (most?) parishes that still believe the Pope condemned Harry and that reading him is the Gateway Drug to Wicca and the Occult. Dare I say, though, that the war is over except for the soldiers deep in the jungle that refuse to surrender? Or would that be this the literary equivalent of the President landing on a carrier and declaring we have won the war in Iraq?

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John Granger: Talk Radio Interview 9/24

Here is an mp3 file of the talk-radio interview I did with Jerry Bowyer minutes before my talk last week at Yale’s Saybrook College. If I sound a little tight or hurried, imagine me in suit and tie, looking at my notes and the clock on the wall in the beautiful Saybrook guest suite, and trying to answer Jerry’s excellent questions with what was left of my attention…. The interview begins two or three minutes into the show so hold on or fast forward.

Luna and Hermione as Rationality Doppelgangers?

In the discussion of Ms. Rowling’s Veil comments on the HogPro thread below, Felicity, after Inked’s exposition of the reactions of several character to the veil as archetypal reactions to death, reviewed each from text. Besides revealing where Ms. Rowling made a gaffe worthy of candidates for political office (confusing Ron and Hermione’s reactions to the stone arch), she points out the curious ambiguity of Luna’s character. Felicity wrote:

Luna hears the voices more clearly than anyone and she also know there are “people in there” who (as we find out later in OotP) have “gone on.” But Luna is a character who believes in lots of bizarre things. As Hermione said of Luna, “Ginny’s told me all about her, apparently she’ll only believe in things as long as there’s no proof at all.” (OP13) Luna wears earrings made of dirigible plums, which we learned from Xenophilius, “enhance the ability to accept the extraordinary.” (DH20) And Luna does accept the existence of the extraordinary, even, apparently, the blatantly bogus. She has the strongest belief in an afterlife of all the students, but she also believes in the existence of Blibbering Humdingers, Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, Wrackspurts, and the Rotfang Conspiracy. Is Loony Luna an example of faith alone leading to acceptance of all manner of superstition? Or is Ravenclaw Luna an admirable example of untroubled faith standing ground against the ridicule of skeptics? Both?

In a nutshell, Luna can be read as a nutter or spiritually luminous or both. One word for this condition is ‘arationality,’ which is not to be confused with ‘irrationality.’ Her ability to answer the Ravenclaw Common Room Door’s metaphysical chestnut [Read more…]

Ms. Rowling Talks about The Veil

From Melissa Anelli’s weBlog, an excerpt from her new book, Harry, a History:

JKR: Everyone wanted to go beyond the veil.

MA: This is very canon-based, but there are some things that as a fan, there are things I just gotta know. A lot of fans see the veil as that separation –

JKR: It’s the divide between life and death. I tried to do a nod to that in the Tale of Three Brothers – she was separate from them as though through a veil. You can’t go back if you pass through that veil, you cannot come back. Or you can’t come back in any form that will make either person happy anyway. [Read more…]

On to Baylor and Yale!

I’m home for a day from a wonderful tour of California before heading out to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Yale in Connecticut.

Many thanks to Michael at the Torrey Honors Institute, Nicholas at St. Luke’s, and James, Kanet, and Carrie at Pepperdine for making my wife’s and my time on the left coast a delight from beginning to end!

Please check out the beautiful new Zossima Press website — and don’t hesitate to order autographed copies of The Deathly Hallows Lectures. I look forward to returning from this concentrated bunch of speaking dates and sharing with you what I’ve been talking about and learning on the campuses where I’ve been invited to lecture.

Sometime while I’m gone, a set of podcasts I did while at Biola with John Mark Reynolds and Paul Speers may go up at Scriptorium Daily’s Middlebrow site. Let me know what you think if you catch it (a little easier, I hope, than tuning in PotterWatch).

See you Thursday!

John, out the door for the puddle jumper to Waco

UPDATE: Here is the link to the Yale Daily News story about my talk.