Signum U. Symposium: Beasts and Rogue One

Last month, I was pleased to take part in a Signum U./Mythgard Institute-sponsored symposium to discuss the two hottest fantasy films of the holiday season, and their various and sundry implications: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Also taking part were friends of this site Katherine Sas and Kelly Orazi (whom you’ll remember from their brilliant essays in Harry Potter For Nerds 2), Curtis Weyant (who is one of my own, personal go-to Star Wars nerds), Brenton Dickieson, Mythgard faculty member and author of the brilliant blog A Pilgrim in Narnia, and of course our moderator, Sørina Higgins. It proved a lively, lengthy and interesting discussion, especially after our host ended the “official” program, and the remaining panelists, having too much fun to hang up, chatted on unreservedly. Please enjoy, and feel free to add your own thoughts on these two films, and our nerdy discussion of same, in the comments.

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Fantastic, Forceful Films: Common elements in Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogue-one-jyn-ersa-geared-up(Some Rogue One spoilers below – clearly marked in ALL CAPS. Fantastic Beasts spoilers too, but seriously, people, you’ve had weeks …)

Ever since I learned to speak Star Wars at the Mythgard Institute a year ago, I’ve been eyeing the places where the Harry Potter and Star Wars franchises seem to intersect, and these places are many. So the fact that Warner Brothers and Disney Studios have, within a month, released film tie-ins to their beloved epics is no great shock. Neither is the fact that the films employ common elements and themes in seeking to delight long-time fans while enticing new ones. Let’s talk about four elements Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One share.

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Fantastic Beast Flashbacks: The Five Things We Want to Know about What Happened BEFORE Newt’s NY Adventure

Even though Fantastic Beasts slipped to number 2 on the Thanksgiving holiday box office (it’s hard to beat a Disney Princess with a boat and the Rock in her corner), it is still a bona fide hit.  Audiences are already clamoring for the next installment, eager to find out what happens next to Newt, his creatures, and his friends; however, some of the most exciting unanswered questions of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them don’t concern what happens next, but what happened before that case of critters took a bite out of the Big Apple.

One of the wonderful aspects of this new cinematic sojourn into the Wizarding World is its mystery. Unlike the previous eight Harry Potter films, this one is not working from a novel that has already laid out its plot and characters for us. Astute Potterphiles have, until now, not seen a film without knowing, at least generally, what to expect. As more of the story unfolds in upcoming installments, here are five thoughts on unanswered questions from the film that we hope to have unraveled in the future. Beware, there be dragons (and nifflers, and major spoilers) ahead.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts on Terrific Treats from Fantastic Beasts!

Image result for wizarding world of harry potter foodWe hope that all our readers have had a lovely day of gratitude with loved ones and friends. We are, here at Hogwarts Professor, very grateful for you! Though many people really focus on the serious side of being thankful, we hope you already know that we do take gratitude seriously, but we also take seriously the other factor that is critical to Thanksgiving: food! J.K. Rowling has said that one of her favorite books, when she was younger, was Elizabeth Goudge’s The Little White Horse. One of her main reasons for loving the book was the fact that readers are always told “what was in the sandwiches.”  That is undoubtedly one of the reasons many of us love the Hogwarts Adventures as well. We are here for the food!

While we try to recover from a turkey coma, let’s have some fun with some of of the Wizarding Eats from the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Spoilers Ahead, Beware!

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Louise’s Belated Fantastic Beasts Response

fb-pictureI couldn’t hit the opening night of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because I was attending the Morality, Moral Philosophy and the Humanities in the Age of Neuroscience Conference, so I decided to wait until my daughter was home from college so we could go as a family. As a result, I have been avoiding spoilers for almost a week. Last night, after we got home, I went through a bunch of Hogpro posts, emails and my copy of the screenplay that had been sitting in its cardboard Amazon box since last week. So, after bit of day-before Thanksgiving cooking, and a nice hot cup of cranberry wassail, I’m finally sitting down to write my initial response.

I share the positive response of most other Wizarding World fans: it was a well-written, exciting film that fills in part of the backstory of JKR’s magical world without infringing on (or re-writing) any of Harry’s story. Newt was a lovable if unlikely hero, the Goldstein sisters strong female leads and Jacob Kowalski a delightful Mary-Sue character for all Muggles:  the No-Maj who got to be part of the Wizarding World, albeit for a short time. Add that to the speculation that Queenie and Jacob’s descendent will eventually play Quidditch on the US team, and you have the ultimate wish fulfillment for many fans. [Read more…]