Substack HogwartsProfessor New Posts

We’re at a little short of a month since I announced the opening of HogwartsProfessor on Substack and it’s been several weeks since I updated this site with links to articles there, pieces that are sent directly to our subscribers. Here is a quick review of how things work with a free subscription to our Substack posts and a survey of our first articles on that platform:

I write a longish piece on the artistry and meaning of stories (with a special focus on the work of Rowling-Galbraith) that is sent out every Thursday. On Monday, Nick Jeffery, Evan Willis, Elizabeth Baird-Hardy, and an occasional Guest Post writer share their thoughts and insights. We hope to be adding a podcast soon, which project of three years’ gestation, now that I’ve found a potential host and engineer, may at last be taking off.

Here are short summaries with links to articles you missed if you don’t have a subscription or follow our Twitter feed:

Traditional Symbols in Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike: A Perennialist View

The purpose of the move to Substack (for me at least!) was to get away from the grind of daily posting and the inevitable adulterization of prime content due to deadline pressure. Too many YouTube videos, discussions of Rowling’s twitter feeds, and fruitless-if-fun speculation about plot points in future books made by following the bread crumbs of Rowling, Inc’s marketing team. Not enough pieces about the power and meaning of story to enrich and transform lives via the imagination. This first post, one taken almost directly from my PhD thesis, was a marker of our change in direction at the new HogwartsProfessor and what makes us different and, yes, better than other sites for serious readers of Rowling and other writers.

Cormoran in Cornwall

Nick Jeffery explains why he thinks Strike will be returning to Cornwall, if not in Running Grave then soon after, and what this might mean in terms of the legendary story background Rowling-Galbraith has rolled into her Strike mysteries.

Literary Alchemy: Sacred Science, Sacred Art, and ‘The Alembic of Story’ (A Perennialist Explanation of J. K. Rowling’s Signature Hermetic Symbolism)

A fellow Potter Pundit last month wrote me to say that “No one living has made the contributions to Rowling Studies that you have” and I was chuffed, of course. When I am criticized by twitter-talents and third tier academics as a snob or non-entity, it is nice to have a note from someone who knows the score as a bit of reassurance. The contributions I think this writer was referring to are my exegesis of Rowling’s use of traditional symbolism, her psychomachia, the ring composition structure of her novels and Series, the Parallel Series Idea, her “bookshelf,” and Literary Alchemy. I get a lot of questions about the alchemy aspect of Rowling’s work, a subject that brilliant readers have been building on since I first discussed it in 2002’s Hidden Key to Harry Potter, so I decided to share another piece from my PhD thesis, this one on what Beatrice Groves calls “the alembic of story.”

Cyber Strike: AI Created Plot Synopsis for The Running Grave

I begged Nick Jeffery to write a piece on the use of artificial intelligence to predict the plot of Strike 7, and, gentleman-genius that he is, he obliged. Rowling twitter-teased her fan base to guess the next book’s subject matter as part of The Running Grave marketing roll-out, an effort more intense and more involved with each book as first week sales for the last several novels continue to fall. Nick’s piece is simultaneously a fascinating look at Strike7 possibilities and a fairly persuasive argument that AI technology will not be displacing serious readers anytime soon.

A Math Teacher Looks at the Heart of Geometry

Evan Willis’ first contribution to HogwartsProfessor on Substack went up this morning. On the surface it has nothing to do with Harry Potter, Cormoran Strike, or even The Christmas Pig, subjects about which Evan has broken significant ground in the past. He writes instead about the ‘Heart’ or ‘Intellect,’ the so-called “cardiac intelligence” as opposed to the discursive “cranial” kind, that Coleridge called the Primary Imagination, the human faculty continuous with the Logos fabric of reality. Traditionally, the study of Geometry was considered the Golden Road to fostering this noetic faculty and I have never read a better explanation of why than Evan’s in this piece. (I also have never regretted so much not having had a math teacher like Evan in my elementary and secondary school years.)

Next week, Elizabeth Baird-Hardy will be writing about the new Hunger Games movie and I will return to posting on Thursday with, well, that will be a surprise. See you on the Substack!


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