Potter Blotter: Interview and Discussion

I had a long and wonderful talk yesterday with Maria Elena Baca at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. She posted excerpts from this conversation, largely about the morality of the books, on her weBlog, the Potter Blotter, this morning. It’s worth reading largely because of the nasty response it drew immediately from an atheist (self-proclaimed) saying the Harry Potter books couldn’t be considered Christian per se or anything more than generically mythological or moral.

I disagreed, which I suppose you might have guessed.

Catholic Harry Haters Release Deathly Hallows Ending? (No Spoilers Here)

When I reposted back in April the oft requested, “Pope Opposes Harry Potter? Hardly,” an article detailing the shameful use of Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict’s thank you note to a woman in Germany by a group of cafeteria Catholics and “culture warriors” in Canada, I made a prediction that they’d be back in the run-up to Deathly Hallows. Most HogPro readers know my predictions are usually a good pointer to the opposite of what will actually take place but this bit of prognostication has, unfortunately, seemed to come true.

On 21 June, we all woke up to the story that the ending or key details of the ending from Deathly Hallows had been hacked from Bloomsbury’s website and published online. This was disappointing news, of course, but not unexpected. Ms. Rowling and larger fan sites have repeatedly asked readers and others not to reveal the ending of the series but, with 12 million copies “out there,” I think many observers have thought this a glorious but naive hope.

The more disturbing part of the story to me, though, was the note left by the hacker in cyberspace. He claimed, incredibly, to be acting as a servant of his Holy Father, Pope Benedict. [Read more…]

Amazon Out-of-Stock?

The New York Times article yesterday that quoted me and mentioned Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? apparently caused something of a stampede at Amazon.com for Zossima Press’ Harry Potter titles. That’s great news except that it caught Amazon by surprise. The rush on Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader and Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? wiped out their substantial stock on-hand. If you try to order either book, you get an out-of-stock notice.

Until they get new copies from the printer, you can still order copies of either book from the Zossima Press website. These books come complete with my signature (loopy handwriting with joined together letters). Order today!

Big News Day at HogPro

Yesterday was an event-filled day for Hogwarts Professor! News regarding The New York Times, The Arts and Entertainment Network, two Harry Potter Conferences, and changes at the Zossima Press website — not to mention that a friend won a world-wide Fandom contest…. Here is a brief catch-up with the news in this cyber corner of the PotterVerse:

(1) Article in the New York Times

Ms. Tomoko Rich contacted me on Monday for a Times story she was writing on tight deadline about spoilers and speculation in the frenetic countdown to the release of Deathly Hallows. We talked for about half an hour about various theories and why I thought people were so involved in the stories (the question I try to answer in each of my books). If you haven’t read Defenders of Secrets, Unite!, it’s a fun read highlighting the omnipresent Emerson and Melissa and their battle with folks trying to spoil the delight of Deathly Hallows for all of us. I am mentioned at the tail end of the article:

John Granger, a professor of Latin and English at the Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa., has written two books about the series and edited a third called “Who Killed Albus Dumbledore” that is filled with predictions.

He also runs a discussion group at HogwartsProfessor.com. “I’ve seen really intelligent, really literate women and men discuss these points and provide more than cogent arguments that Snape is X, Y or Z, and they all make sense in terms of all the clues she’s given in the book,” Mr. Granger said. “This has probably been the most fun that intelligent people can have with their clothes on in the 21st century.”

No doubt this article, because it mentions HogPro, has brought a few new readers to this site (it certainly boosted sales of Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, Unlocking Harry Potter, and even Hidden Key to Harry Potter from 2002!). To those readers, “Welcome!” If you’re looking for HogPro’s Greatest Hits, here is a quick menu: [Read more…]

Great Expectations: What Sort of Ending Can We Expect?

Today is my daughter Sarah’s 17th birthday and we celebrated it by going to the movies. Our family usually skips out on the cinema during fasts but, as it isn’t an obedience of the Orthodox Church (just a reminder for the children), Mary and I let it slide on special days. Sarah likes movies; her birthday, consequently, was three movies: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer with dad, Ocean’s 13 with mom, and Ghost Rider with a sister and two friends from church. Not especially edifying, I’m sure, but she was “wow’ed.” And dad got to enjoy the alchemical delights again of the Fantastic Four….

For the younger guys I bought a collection of Dickens and Austen novels (16!) made into movie serials by the BBC. While mom and Sarah were at the movies this afternoon, I watched two or three episodes of the 353 minute version of Great Expectations. Mary wanted to leave for my dad’s place before it got dark and started raining, though, so they left in the middle of Episode 10 (just before the arrest of Magwitch on the river).

That was too much for me! After I packed the children into the car, I ran to the computer and brought up a text version of the last six chapters of the book. What a great read…. Really, if you haven’t read it for a few years, there are few uses of an hour that I’ve enjoyed this much at the great white screen.

I bring it up here on HogPro because I want to begin the discussion today, before the Interlibrum reaches what promises to be a frenetic ending next month, about what our individual and collective expectations are for Deathly Hallows. Dickens’ ending of Great Expectations is a good place to start — for a different reason than you might think. [Read more…]