‘Potter Pundits’ On Leaky Cauldron PotterCast!

Travis Prinzi, author of Harry Potter and Imagination, James Thomas, author of Repotting Harry Potter, and Hogwarts Professor John Granger (that’s me), author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures, are joining Fandom’s most popular podCasting adventure, The Leaky Cauldron’s (TLC) ‘PotterCast,’ tomorrow night in their 203rd program.

See the program announcement on the TLC main page and tune in for the full explanation of what we Three Potterteers will be discussing on future shows– and how you can join that conversation.

For those of you coming to HogwartsProfessor.com (HogPro) for the first time after listening to the PotterCast or reading about the Potter Pundits at TLC, welcome! (More after the jump.)

How did this come about?

Ms. Anelli and I spoke about the possibility after a very successful Authors Panel we both participated in at LeakyCon 2009. The thought was, “Why not bring this kind of geeky, literature-focused conversation to PotterCast?” She shared the idea with John Noe and then Travis Prinzi and I met with them and other PotterCast folks at Azkatraz 2009 in San Francisco. We played with a variety of ideas about how to make a Pundit segment work in the current PotterCast format and Mr. Noe asked us to create a pilot show so they could get a more real sense of what it might sound like. We obliged and they liked the pilot enough that you’ll have a chance to hear it tomorrow night.

Who are the Potter Pundits?

You are, really, if you’re a serious reader of Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. This show is really about you and your desire for conversation more about the books and how they work as books rather than the many other Fandom concerns. Prof. Thomas, Mr. Prinzi, and I, as we spell out in the show tomorrow night, have a pretty broad menu of topics to choose from and we’ll be listening to your feedback at TLC after the show before we record our next program, tentatively scheduled for the middle of next month.

Why you guys instead of anybody else?

Good question! Our Potter-cv’s are below, but, again, the show isn’t about three eggheads spouting on their favorite jags (I hope). We’ll be having guests, if all works as planned, from the various Ivory Tower and Independent Scholar enclaves and we’ll be taking our cues from you about which topics, guests, and questions you want to hear about and from on the show.

The Curricula Vitarum Punditi Potteri:

Travis “The Half-Blood” Prinzi is a popular author and speaker on the intersection of fantasy and politics, myth and culture in Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. John Granger, the ‘Hogwarts Professor,‘ has said “There is no more insightful commenter on the Harry Potter novels than Travis Prinzi ” and a reviewer of Mr. Prinzi’s important Harry Potter & Imagination: The Way Between Two Worlds echoed that by saying “Travis Prinzi’s name should be synonymous with Harry Potter scholarship from this point forward.”

Prinzi has been a featured speaker and led panel discussions at five Harry Potter conferences and has lectured on everything from Harry Potter to religion to education to hit TV shows like The Office at university campuses and libraries in the United States and Canada. He collects and edits the best in Harry Potter scholarship each year for Zossima Press, Hog’s Head Conversations: Essays on Harry Potter, the first volume of which was published in July 2009.

With a staff of other Potter mavens called the ‘Blogengamot,’ Prinzi writes for and moderates an ongoing conversation on the depths of Harry Potter at TheHogsHead.org, “that other pub,” as Hermione put it, and, yes, “it’s a bit dodgy.” PubCasts from The Hog’s Head feature Travis’ reflections on everything ‘Harry Potter’ as well as discussions with the best and brightest of Fandom.

Travis holds graduate degrees in education and theology from the University of Rochester and Northeastern Seminary. He lives in Rochester, NY, with his wife, Tricia, daughter, Sophia, and his dog, Moses.

James W. Thomas is Professor of English at Pepperdine University, where he has taught since 1981. For many years, he has done scholarly work primarily in twentieth-century American literature, publishing a number of articles and reviews, along with Lyle Saxon: A Critical Biography, and teaching courses on Edgar Allen Poe, William Faulkner, contemporary American poetry, and American short stories.

Now a leading voice in academia for the literary legitimacy of the Hogwarts Adventures, his first readings of Rowling’s books came in 2003, after which, as he often says, he hasn’t quite been the same. In the last few years, Dr. Thomas has spoken at Harry Potter conferences in Dallas, Toronto, and San Francisco, and has been interviewed by NPR, several newspapers, and TIME magazine regarding the Potter books. Since the fall of 2006, he has taught a number of Pepperdine students, from first years to seniors, in his university classes on the Potter series.

Dr. Thomas’ most quoted line? He famously quipped in TIME magazine’s 2007 Person of the Year profile of Ms. Rowling that the Ivory Tower’s resistance to the series was based on the three ‘deathly hallows’ of the books: “They’re too recent, they’re too popular, and they’re too juvenile.”

He is the author of Repotting Harry Potter: A Professor’s Book-by-Book Guide for the Serious Re-Reader, published in January, 2009, by Zossima Press. He and his wife Kanet live in Westlake Village, California, and have three children and four grandchildren.

TIME magazine recently dubbed John Grangerthe Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” and it’s easy to understand why. He was one of if not the first critic to take Joanne Rowling seriously as a writer; it was Granger, most memorably, who explained the alchemical story scaffolding, who ‘saw’ the meaning of the eyes in Deathly Hallows, and who laid out the traditional Christian symbolism of the Potter books (back in 2002 when many churches were still having barbecues with her novels as fuel). His four books on the Hogwarts Adventures, especially The Deathly Hallows Lectures and Harry Potter’s Bookshelf, are, along with his HogwartsProfessor.com weblog, must-reads for the serious reader of Harry Potter.

John was voted Best Presenter at the first HPEF convention (Nimbus 2003) and has been a Featured Speaker at seven other fan conferences in North America since then to include LeakyCon in Boston last May. He has lectured at major colleges and Universities to include Yale, Princeton, Pepperdine, Baylor, Biola/Torrey, Washington & Lee, Penn, and the University of Chicago; his views on Harry Potter as literature have been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, on CNN, A&E, and MSNBC, and on close to 100 radio talk show programs.

John is an honors graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Chicago. As important, he was a finalist in the 2006 Witch Weekly “Most Winning Smile” contest, house-elf division. John lives with his wife Mary and their seven Harry-loving children in Pennsylvania. Hermione’s cousin, ‘The Hogwarts Professor,’ speaks at schools, libraries, conventions, and churches; please contact the Penguin Speakers Bureau or the Orthodox Speakers Bureau for dates and scheduling information.

What happens here at Hogwarts Professor?

Basically, HogPro is my sounding board. I write laughably long essays or short notes on what I’m thinking and the HogPro All-Pros commend, chastise, or correct me. The conversation here is charitable perhaps to a fault. There are plenty of disagreements; there is very little (well, actually, there isn’t any) name calling, ugliness, or verbal wedgie giving on the site so everyone feels good about sharing their off the wall ideas. Thanks in advance for joining the conversation!

I recommend — to get a feel for what the discussions are like at Hogwarts Professor — that you check out last week’s post on the real world Reformation heretics after whom Ms. Rowling named her Muggles (and her Seekers), a note on the allegorical meaning of Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince (mostly lost in the film, alas), and a free-for-all discussion about whether literary alchemy translates to movie adaptations from text. [If you’re more interested in Twilight conversations, head on over to Forks High School Professor.com, the HogPro Twilight sister site.]

Thanks for joining us here at Hogwarts Professor — and for sharing your thoughts about Potter Pundits after the pilot show tomorrow!


  1. Can you ever have enough “geeky, literature-focused conversation?” I, for one, say no! Bring it on, guys!! Hoping your book sales skyrocket, John! 🙂

    Also, welcome to everyone who finds their way here from Pottercast!!

  2. Arabella Figg says

    Fantastic! And ditto the warm wecome to Pottercast listeners. Fasten your seatbelts for a great ride…

  3. The Potter Pundits segment on the latest Pottercast was fantastic!! So much depth & coverage in such a short amount of time, about 20-24 minutes. And that was just a preview of what they will possibly be doing as future topics!! Imagine 25 minutes of pure Potter Punditry on a topic, dealt with thoughtfully, seriously, humorously, and lovingly!!

    Great, great job, John, James, and Travis!!!!

  4. Hurray! I remember you discussing this with Melissa at LeakyCon after the authors’ panel (and embarrassingly blurting out “Have him on the show!!”, I think I frightened Melissa a bit…). I’m so glad that this is becoming a reality! ^_^

  5. We just recorded our second show. If the recording worked (fingers crossed), we should be on the next PotterCast talking about Luna Lovegood.

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