Weblog HogwartsProfessor is Dead; Long Live Substack HogwartsProfessor

This is post number 2900 at HogwartsProfessor.com and it is a milestone akin to 29’s association with the planet Saturn, whose revolution around the sun takes that many years and the return of which to the position in one’s natal horoscope signals a Big Change or transformation. A Saturnine end or death — and a new beginning.

I started HogwartsProfessor twenty years ago as a bulletin board website on which I posted outlandishly long posts even for the time. With the help and guidance of Travis Prinzi, who created this WordPress site and the first headers for it, as well as paying server costs for years of its existence, it became a Go-To site for Harry Potter fandom’s serious readers. Elizabeth Baird Hardy was the first to join the faculty fellowship as a contributor and has served as Deputy Headmistress for fifteen years. Louise Freeman Davis joined ten years ago, Evan Willis not long after, and Nick Jeffery last year.

The site has morphed intentionally in the last three years from a long-post page on which new pieces appeared only as frequently as the faculty were moved to write them (or Guest Post contributors shared their writing with us) into almost a ‘Daily Newspaper’ or at least that paper’s editorial page. Our longest streak of consecutive daily posts stretched for more than nine months, which was quite the drain on our time and talents in addition to the costs to my treasury in maintaining the site.

And, sadly, this commitment to posting daily meant more YouTube videos and twitter exegesis and far fewer long posts and deep dives into the artistry and meaning of Rowling’s writing, not to mention of contemporary writing and films not-by-Rowling. Maintaining an audience by frequent new articles — and by ‘frequent’ I mean ‘Every Doggone Day’ — in addition to eating up the time necessary to re-read, think seriously about, and then compose the in-depth pieces also left less mental energy to take on new projects.

Fortunately, a new venue has appeared, an alternative to WordPress weblogs, which allows a writer to create and maintain an audience via email rather than frequent posting. That ‘other way’ is Substack, a subscription platform for long-form writing. With this post, HogwartsProfessor begins what will be at least a month long transition from a WordPress weblog to a subscription only Substack site, at which the once-a-week posts I write will appear in your inbox for free on Thursdays and once-a-month posts by Evan, Elizabeth, Nick, and a Guest every Monday.

As far as my posts go, I am very excited about returning to what I do best, namely, deep dives into the artistry and meaning of Rowling’s work (as well as that of other contemporary and traditional writers) with a special focus on the allegorical, anagogical, and alchemical content, the symbolism, structure, and story scaffolding of poems, plays, and longer prose. I have used these ideas in the past to speculate about what Rowling’s next books would include, a fun way to illustrate the tools in this writer’s kit, but an exercise that sadly (pathetically?) has become an end in itself. Freed from the self-imposed burden of daily posting, I look forward to exploring and explaining in depth the books we have in hand.

As a former colleague recently wrote to me, “You have done more for Rowling studies than anyone alive” (her emphasis). I’m confident she was referring to my work with traditional symbolism, literary alchemy, ring composition, psychomachia, intertextuality or literary allusion, and the peculiar parallel series in progress between the Strike and Potter novels, all of that being ground-breaking, original work on which other critical readers have built more and less successfully. I’m certain, though, she was not referencing my notes about The Presence’s tweets or the guesswork I have done or can do about what will happen in Running Grave by searching Deathly Hallows and Cuckoo’s Calling for clues lost in the crevices.

So — beginning Thursday, a new HogwartsProfessor! Thank you for twenty years of reading the posts at this WordPress weblog, and, in advance, for joining me and the fellowship of writers dedicated to bringing you the best and most original insights at our new Substack platform about the more profound craft and meaning of imaginative fiction and the literary arts.

 

Comments

  1. Brian Basore says

    I subscribed. You’ve been working up to this point.
    I’m still interested to know, please, when you get the PhD, so you can be a “real” professor at a professor’s pay!

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    With “the costs to [your] treasury in maintaining the site” in mind, I look forward to learning, in the fullness of time, what will become of the posts here, archivally! (I admire and delight in the “WayBack Machine”, and yet… ‘rely upon’ can seem too strong a term.)

    Meanwhile, all good wishes for the “at least a month long transition”!

  3. I think I managed to subscribe lol. I was trying to pay annually, not sure I managed it, but I’m on a train to London. Anyway I’ll follow you all whatever way I can manage because you write so cleverly about what I love: anything by JK Rowling.

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