The New York Times covers Harry Potter?

Wow. A really great day for Harry Potter fans everywhere it is when the Newspaper of Record puts out some great guides and reading for serious readers!

In the Sunday New York Times this last week, we not only scored a Great Guide to the Potter Conventions and Events this summer but, incredibly, they printed four endings to the books by professional writers (not to worry, they’re all very funny in a sardonic way, no spoilers).

Read ’em all soon before you have to pay the Times to get them out of their archives!


  1. Arabella Figg says

    John, thanks for these, especially the Four Endings.

    A LOST fan, I laughed out loud when I read Lindelhof’s The Boy Who Died. Loved all the LOST double-entendres and pithy take on “Die Hard” Americans. I enjoy Meg Cabot’s screwball comedies and hers was funny, too.

    What a clever take on Rowling in Polly Horvath’s “Hermione Tells All. (Loved the “tripped” and vegan joke).

    If anyone can’t get these from the NYT links (I could only get Horvath’s first line), if you’ve a library card, you can go through your library’s database. You can always go through your libe database to get newspaper/magazine articles not available to you or from years ago. Just a helpful tip.

    Are you speaking at the adult Prophecy 2007, John?

  2. Dear Arabella (and Kitties),

    Your Bloom post almost finished me. Drop. Dead. Funny. Thank you for the laugh today!

    Yes, I will be at Prophecy 2007, moderating an egghead panel and giving two talks. This weekend, though, it’s Enlightening 2007 with a panel on the new movie and a talk about life as the father of seven Potter Maniac, Jrs. (with seven predictions about Deathly Hallows.

    Can you find a cat sitter on short notice?

    Hopeful John

  3. Coppinger Bailey says

    To all the PoMo Realist-Alchemical Arithmancy APers out there,

    This post isn’t exactly on the NYT stories, but it was in the news this weekend & has to do with “endings”…

    Did you notice that Venus Williams won her 4th Wimbledon title on 7/7/07?

    Deathly Hallows *spoiler alert*: Love wins.

    Others tidbits of note:
    She was the lowest ranked winner in Wimbledon history to win (no. 31).
    She lost 22 games in her final 4 matches before winning.
    She was the 4th woman to win 4+ Wimbledon singles titles in the Open Era.
    She took home 700,000 pounds in prize money.

    And, on a final non-arithmanic yet thoroughly PoMo’s PoMo note, she beat a French woman in her final match to claim the title.


    And earlier this winter all of us HP fans thought it was the BOOK coming out on 7/7/07! Well, perhaps we were on to something…

  4. Couldn’t find a good place to post this, but thought you might be interested John:

    ‘Harry Potter’ and the Gospel of J.K. Rowling

    By Jeff Diamant
    Religion News Service
    Saturday, June 30, 2007; B09

    I had never read a “Harry Potter” book until three months ago, when a hopeful editor buttonholed me with a plea: Would I, a religion reporter, write about religious imagery in the series?

    We reporters don’t freely turn down editors’ assignments, so a force-feeding of all six books ensued. After 3,362 pages and 12 weeks of very late nights, I can say I liked the series. I get the hype.

    I even understand the intrigue that’s leading real people to bet real dollars on the ending — specifically, on whether the young wizard Harry lives or dies in the last volume, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which comes out July 21.

    It’s true, Agence France-Presse has reported: Gamblers wealthy or odd enough to wager on fiction have put down money with bookies. The prevailing bet? Potter to die.

    His death will be a noble one, it is prophesied in the blogs, a death both sacrificial and necessary to save the world from the satanic Lord Voldemort. I agree with this line. I also expect Harry’s death to show that his character’s path is modeled on the Gospel accounts of Jesus, and, more significantly, that the link between him and wizardry-school headmaster Albus Dumbledore is patterned on the most essential relationship in the Christian Bible — that between Jesus the Son and God the Father.

    I never much enjoyed literature lessons on Christ imagery. I felt them too presumptuous of what authors were thinking, and I didn’t like that they effectively telegraphed the readings, if only in retrospect. Still, critics have long enjoyed noting similarities to Jesus in classic fictional characters — from Santiago in “The Old Man and the Sea” to Aslan in the “Chronicles of Narnia.”

    By the second Harry Potter book, I began to think the relationship of Harry and Dumbledore was underpinning the narrative in a supernatural, and distinctly Christian, way.

    That author J.K. Rowling’s series is based on a battle between good and evil is so obvious it’s hardly worth mentioning. There’s Harry and Dumbledore against Voldemort; the House of Gryffindor against that of Slytherin; even, symbolically, Fawkes the phoenix against Nagini the snake.

    A more profound, if subtle, moral interplay is found between Harry and Dumbledore, who effectively lead the joint forces of good. Harry is a boy wonder, revered and reviled for his special powers by the respective forces of good and evil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Headmaster Dumbledore is the best wizard there is, a seemingly omniscient force for good who rarely reveals his powers in full and who closely observes others’ courses of action.

    Dumbledore knows Harry plays a unique and indispensable role in the battle against evil, and outwardly helps him from time to time. Yet for most of the series, Dumbledore keeps Harry unaware of the goings-on known or orchestrated by Dumbledore involving the bigger picture. In the course of his young life, Harry often feels Dumbledore is ignoring his personal needs.

    A well-known, heart-wrenching passage in the Bible, from an anguished Jesus on the cross, captures their relationship well: “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” When Jesus says that, he feels abandoned by God. We know from earlier in the Gospels that he understands the special role he is afforded by God the Father. But at that moment, it’s as if he feels separated from God or doesn’t comprehend the metaphysics of God’s plan to redeem the world through his sacrifice.

    Harry Potter, too, knows he is special, that he is the only good wizard or person ever to survive a killing curse from Voldemort. He has a special scar on his forehead, a remnant of that battle.

    Harry has followers who are devoted to him even if they don’t always understand him, and other fair-weather fans who probably don’t know what to make of him half the time. And, of course, enemies.

    Sound familiar?

    Dumbledore, for his part, is a benevolent, godlike presence at the school. He doesn’t seem to want to show all his powers, perhaps to avoid exerting pressure that would impede others’ freedom of choice. This often means allowing satanic, Voldemort-inspired forces to maneuver at will. Ultimately, though, Dumbledore believes in the eventual triumph of Harry.

    The most poignant part of the series, in this regard, is a chapter toward the end of Book Five in which Dumbledore divulges to Harry vital information about Harry’s background and about the battle ahead with Voldemort. Ultimately, Dumbledore discloses, either Harry or Voldemort will die at the other’s hands. (The Bible, incidentally, includes no similar conversation between Jesus and God the Father about Jesus’s mission for the world.)

    My analogy is imperfect, I admit. Harry sometimes seems un-Jesuslike. He is not immune from selfish thoughts, gets some bad grades in class, and, despite his great skills, suffers through occasional ungodly performances at sport. Sometimes, the series’ dominant paradigm is not Harry’s Jesus to Dumbledore’s God the Father, but Harry’s Alvin to his friends’ “the Chipmunks.”

    Dumbledore, for his part, seems to invest wrong-headed faith in evil wizard Severus Snape, and actually dies in Book Six when Snape casts a dreaded killing curse his way. Could he be on the losing side of such things if he were such a heavenly presence?

    Actually, maybe he could. After all, Dumbledore had said death is not the worst fate that can befall someone. And perhaps his influence can transcend his death: “I will only have truly left this school when none here are loyal to me,” Dumbledore says in Book Two, when his job as headmaster is threatened by a cadre of Voldemort’s followers.

    But what about Dumbledore’s trusting Snape, and his allowing Snape crucial access to Harry? Well, in the Gospels, Judas is allowed access to Jesus and is allowed to alert the authorities to his whereabouts. God the Father didn’t prevent this. Christianity teaches that the crucifixion after Jesus’s capture was necessary to redeem the world. Dumbledore repeatedly says he trusts Snape, but what does he mean by this? Might Snape’s apparent evil success in Book Six somehow prove necessary to save the world from Voldemort in Book Seven?

    Could be. In any case, here’s why legions of Harry Potter fans are betting Harry will die, according to Agence France-Presse. They believe Book Seven will reveal that Harry’s body is a “Horcrux,” an object that mystically helps Voldemort survive. Harry’s letting himself die or be killed, the theory goes, would thus help defeat Voldemort. In death, then, he would save the world.

    –Jeff Diamant writes for the Star-Ledger in Newark.

    View all comments that have been posted about this article.

  5. I loved the Lindelof piece! I think I’m still laughing. I really enjoyed how he managed to convey both a deep sense of respect and enjoyment of Rowling’s storytelling amd also laugh a bit at his own storytelling techniques along the way. As a (somewhat frustrated) LOST fan, who has been wondering for a while if the writers there have any idea of their ultimate ending, I found this piece terrific. Thanks for sharing the “endings,” John!

    And while we’re all posting our favorite articles to read while we’re in the homestretch of waiting, Stephen King has written a funny and poignant article over at Entertainment Weekly. In “Goodbye, Harry” he discusses how Rowling’s ending, no matter how good it is, will likely feel unsatisfying to many. As he puts it:

    “The Internet blog sites will be full of this was bad and that was wrong, but it’s going to boil down to something that many will feel and few will come right out and state: No ending can be right, because it shouldn’t be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away.”

    It’s a lovely read for all of us approaching the final book with mixed feelings, and very appreciative of what Rowling has accomplished already. You can find the entire article here:,,20044270_20044274_20044682,00.html

  6. Arabella Figg says

    John, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. I do believe in giving back.

    Je regret, but no one will take on the kitties, can’t imagine why, they’re all so adorable. Therefore, I shall miss the one conference I’d love to attend, an adult egghead conclave. C’est triste. We cerebrals appreciate fellow eggies. But have fun.

    Thanks Mern, for the Diamant article. This guy’s pretty sharp for a rushed newbie.

    Gaaahhh, the kitties are bringing down the ficus again…ta!


  7. Arabella Figg says

    A little levity. My husband, that scamp, was inspired to write his own ending, thus inspiring me to write three (he calls me his little overachiever). Writing these things is addictive. Here they are:

    The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
    By Greene Figg

    “Whatcha’ gonna do now, Harry?” asked Hermione, still trembling from the battle, a streak of blood dribbling down her cheek.

    “Say what?” replied Harry hoarsely. “Certainly you know? I’m going to Disneyland of course. And you?”

    “I think I’ll go to the Leaky Cauldron and get bloody plastered.”

    “That was my idea”, croaked Ron, who just then appeared around the corner, his right arm wrapped in Spello-tape. “The whole Ministry will be there. You ought to come Harry, then go to Dis-whatever-it-is-land”.

    “It’s DISNEYLAND, Ron. Even the ministry knows about it. It’s the home of the ‘e-ticket’ curse”.

    Grawp moaned softly, exhaling a horrible smell. Harry gasped slightly, turned away and then laughed. Who would have thought that Grawp would save the day? Even the curse of the most powerful wizard alive could barely touch a giant.

    Voldemort’s end was remarkably simple and gruesome. First there was the distraction of Grawp, who grabbed him and tried to sit on him. Then there was Ginny’s remarkable mastery of the Bat-Bogie hex on Volemort’s follower’s. Harry just barely deflected Bellatrix’s killing-curse, which ricocheted off Voldemort and that was that.

    The Dark-Thingy lay shriveled up on the floor in a corner with a wand stuck up his nose—thanks to the handiwork of Ron Weasley’s remaining good arm.

    “You know what”, Harry said slowly, his hand across his face blocking the smell. “Maybe a mouse dressed in shorts isn’t such a hot idea after all. Sort of an animagus who was too lazy to finish the job. You know what I mean? Let’s go to the Cauldron and have a nip, shall we?”

    “Now you’re talking sense, Harry!” said Hermione, a smile finally spreading slowly across her bloodied face.

    The three friends linked their arms together and with a little pop disappeared in the fading light.

    Grawp grunted and slowly pushed himself up with his left arm. Looking around for the vanished trio, he saw what looked like a little patch of skin floating gently to the floor. Puzzled, he picked it up and held it up against a faint ray of light.

    It was in the shape of a lightning bolt.

    The Curious Tale of Stan Shunpike
    By Arabella Figg

    Rita Skeeter: So, Stan, how does it feel to be the hero of the wizarding world, having single-handedly brought down the greatest terror of our times, Lord Voldemort?

    Stan Shunpike: Cor, it was suffink else, all right. Don’t know ‘bout hero, though.

    RS: Tell us what happened.

    Stan: Well, I was in Azkaban, see, real depressed-like. Then they let me out because ‘Arry made such a stink. He were on a real rampage at the end there. Anyways, getting out was nuffink to sneeze at, and I was real glad to get back to me job on the Knight Bus with ol’ Ern.

    RS: And then…

    Stan: Well, there we was, driving along, and saw this wizard and all standing on the street. Weird bloke in a hood, funny eyes, had this pet snake. He got on and said he wanted to get to Godric Hollow, had some unfinished business with a Time-Turner, whatever that is. ‘Ol Ern and I shot the bus, bang, down the street and next thing you know, this wizard’ bloke’s lying on the floor clutching his chest. Then ‘e croaked. Coo!

    RS: And this turned out to be Lord Voldemort!

    Stan: Blimey, who’da thought he had a dickey heart? ‘Arry told me later all them ‘Orcruxes was destroyed, like, whatever they was, and so You-Know-‘Oo was ripe to be offed.

    RS: So what’s in your future, Stan?

    Stan: Well, they offered me a job in the Ministry, and a ‘igh-up potion specialist promised to fix me pimples. Me mum’s so proud. But me ‘an ‘Ern like the Bus. And we get free beers all the time now. But, crikey, who’da thought it? Gotta go.
    Take it away, Ern!

    Lord Voldemort Exclusive
    By Arabella Figg

    Rita Skeeter: So Lord Voldemort, we’ll just say the ending of the story was a complete surprise.

    LV: Yes, no one expected me to repent.

    RS: It was rather a shock.

    LV: My Death Eaters were quite disappointed (high-pitched laugh).

    RS: From sociopath to savior of the Wizarding World. What a resume.

    LV: Yes, nothing like a little irony to upset the fans.

    RS: And Harry Potter?

    LV: Ah, he’s still mad. He’ll get over it. He’s got that Weasley girl to make it up to him. And his scar is gone. What’s he got to complain about?

    RS: So, Lord Voldemort, sorry, you want to be known as Tom Marvolo now, don’t you?

    LV: Yes, I think it best. Still don’t like the name Riddle…I got called Tom Piddle too many times as a kid.

    RS: So, Tom, what’s in your future?

    LV: Well, I plan to take that DADA job now. Took off the jinx. I think I know a thing or two to teach the kids (winks).

    Snape’s Number

    “At last this is over!” declared Snape tiredly, running his fingers through his revolting greasy hair.

    Killing both Dumbledore and Voldemort had been distressing for the Potions master. Deep down, he really liked to be friendly to everyone. And he wasn’t really a Potions specialist, his wartime job. He’d spent a lot of time reading up on the subject, just to keep ahead of his students. Thankfully, they were mostly such dolts, they never caught on.

    Now Snape could get on with his life. First, a long, hot shower and a haircut. Some fashionable and colorful clothes. Tattoo removal. A nice flat in London and a cottage in the Cotswolds—maybe raise some sheep. Yes, he’d feel like a new man.

    And he could finally follow his heart’s dream of being an accountant. He’d always liked numbers. They didn’t have the habit of smelling foul, blowing up or requiring disgusting ingredients.

    Clearly, fame wasn’t everything.

    Well, off to pet the broom and wax the kitties!

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