Welcome to the All-New HogwartsProfessor.com!

I suppose it looks the same but, really, this site is changing a lot.

I’ve neglected this weBlog for weeks because I’ve been on the other Professor blog I write, ForksHighSchoolProfessor, promoting Spotlight on Twilight, and reading non-Potter titles, most notably, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. That didn’t leave much time for more Potter reading, thinking, and writing than the preps I have to do for The Leaky Cauldron’s PotterCast Potter Pundit segments.

But late last week I realized I should focus all my public writing time in one spot — and of course that spot is here.

What that means for you if you’re a HogwartsProfessor regular (‘HogPro All-Pro,’ get the coffee-cup, t-shirt, and hoodie) or newbie is many more posts on a lot more subjects.Today there will be only one post — this one! — because of the responses I need to make to the great comments on other threads here but it could very well be three posts: one on Twilight, one on Harry Potter, and one on the Hunger Games.

On Twilight what I want to talk about today is a wonderful web site called TwilightNewsSite that is a news aggregator for all things Twilight. There may be 50 of those but what makes this one better than most, than all of the ones that I’ve seen, is that there is tab on the home page that says Meaning. That tab invites a conversation about the state of Twilight fandom specifically and of popular culture in general because the news-home page for the site is all movie news, all the time. The page full of challenging essays on the books’ meaning, though, is neglected, to say the least. No one has left a comment on any of the posts there, which are quite good. Is this just a function of the series finale being in hand, of the movies being a work-in-progress (and therefore a subject producing “news”), or a statement of what really drives fandoms today, story experienced visually, which is to say, superficially and as cinema?

On Harry Potter, I received an email today as I suspect many of you did making an “Exclusive Vacation Offer” to Universal Orlando Resort. If you didn’t get it, here’s the heart of the sales pitch:

Venture into a world where magic is real…and excitement knows no bounds at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme park.

4-Night Vacations starting from only $285* per adult!

This EXCLUSIVE vacation package includes:

  • Early Park Admission to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ – one per person^
  • Commemorative GRAND OPENING ticket – one per person
  • Hotel accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
  • 3-Day Base Ticket^^ to both Universal Orlando® theme parks – one theme park, per day
  • Access to live entertainment◊◊ at Universal CityWalk®

I think this “exclusive” offer invites discussion of how much our imagined experiences shape our waking life. I mean, when you plan your vacation to a place as far away and as expensive and uncomfortable as Orlando (in the summer?!) for the chance to visit a plastic Hogwarts with roller coasters, you gotta know there’s a big bleed from the books into your life. (I’ll see you there, I hope, for Infinitus 2010!)

And on Hunger Games? Well, if you read the Stratford Caldecott essay on Imaginative Literature I posted at HogPro yesterday (and if you haven’t, there’s nothing here as important and edifying as that; just go back now and read the whole thing), you’re familiar with the spectrum of fable-to-fantasy he charted and explained. It begs exploration in terms of The Hunger Games. Where does the Panem sub-creation fall on the chart? How does it differ from the examples Caldecott gives or from your favorites? The essay is a gold mine for serious reader thinking and conversation.

The thing is — finally, the point of the post! — while I could post the Twilight piece at ForksHighSchoolProfessor.com, the Potter piece here, and my thoughts place on Hunger Games’ place in fantasy literature at PanemProfessor.com, that would be a serious waste for several reasons.

The most obvious one is few readers have even heard of my other Professor blogs, even die-hard Twihards and Games Groupies. Why post something on a site where I’m talking to myself?

More important, though I really do value conversation, is none of these post subjects is restricted to Twilight, Harry Potter, or Hunger Games fans and readers.

  • Tell me the Twilight fandom’s movie fetish isn’t mirrored in Harry Potter fandom today and I’ll tell you that you are mistaking differences in degree for differences in kind. You’ll note on Hunger Games fan sites that the conversation is already as much about potential casting for the movies than where the books are headed.
  • The Harry Potter ‘Wizarding World’ complex in Orlando may not have sibling Twilight and Hunger Games theme parks (yet), but the subject of how what we read and imagine shapes our vision and experience of the world obviously isn’t a subject about which only Potter-philes have something to say. And —
  • Prof. Caldecott in his essay talks about Twilight and Harry Potter*** (and Lewis Carroll, Tolkien, and Pullman, among many others). This overview and attempt at a fantasy moral-taxonomy of sorts almost demands a broader than one-fandom discussion.

And that’s what the new HogwartsProfessor.com will be about. Yes, there will be posts devoted just to each one of these book series, especially in the run-up to Mockingjay’s publication this August, and other series as well (Artemis Fowl, The Space Trilogy, and Redwall come immediately to mind). But the discussions on these posts and in the broader-focus essays I’ll put up here will be about topics of interest to all readers. I hope you’ll join me in this conversation.

But PLEASE don’t start the conversation here about any of these three topics I gave as samples today! They’ll be posted properly in the coming week.

That’s it for explanations now. Thank you for spreading the word to friends and fellow serious readers about the talk here, and, again, for joining the conversation yourself. I’m off to the several active threads about the Hunger Games ‘Pearl’ theory (here and here) to answer some questions and acknowledge your corrections. See you there!

***See page 6: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling I would place in the category Symbolist-Moral, or perhaps even Symbolist-Spiritual, whereas the Twilight vampire novels of Stephanie Myer, the Mormon housewife, with their strongly erotic overtones, would be Fabulist-Idyllic or (at worst) Fabulist-Idolatrous.


  1. Arabella Figg says

    Makes good sense to me!

  2. Arabella Figg says

    And why not the coffee cup, t-shirt and hoodie?

  3. PotterMom05 says

    I’d buy a hoodie, to match my HP coffee mug….

  4. great idea! I want to hear ALL you have to say, not just HP. Thanks!

  5. So, like, uh, Professor Dude, Sir! Just where do we get ’em? ” HogPro All-Pro,’ get the coffee-cup, t-shirt, and hoodie”. I’m feeling left out and all. All I have are autographed books!


  6. I’d buy a hoodie! Or a baseball cap. How ’bout a book bag?

  7. How I wish the Professor also watched LOST the tv show. It is filled with literary references and begging for serious spiritual discussion.

  8. Nicole Ellis says

    our local shop is giving away some free coffe mugs that are also of high quality,~;”

  9. I posted about this earlier on my own blog. Your article has really given me some food for thought, I feel you’ve made many very intriguing points. I want I’d found it earlier, previous to writing my own post.

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