MuggleNet Academia is a conversation about the literary artistry and meaning of Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. The on-air conversation is between Keith, John, and our student and professor guests but the conversation afterward in our comment boxes about the previous show’s topic and about suggestions for new shows is the real pay-off for us. Feedback from listeners means we are moving towards the goal of raising the bar of conversation in Harry Potter fandom.
Letty Nardone wrote Keith earlier this month to suggest a show about “the high school experience and Hogwarts.” Here is what Letty wrote:
I'm a big fan of Mugglenet Academia. May I make a suggestion for a show topic?
The high school experience and Hogwarts: how we can never shake the high school experience from our lives.
In a recent article in New York Magazine, "Why You Never Truly Leave High School", by Jennifer Senior, she stipulates science proves that we live our lives as if we are still in high school.
From the article:
"There are some people who simply put in their four years, graduate, and that’s that. But for most of us adults, the adolescent years occupy a privileged place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable: Give a grown adult a series of random prompts and cues, and odds are he or she will recall a disproportionate number of memories from adolescence. This phenomenon even has a name "the reminiscence bump" and it’s been found over and over in large population samples, with most studies suggesting that memories from the ages of 15 to 25 are most vividly retained."
Let's look at a few examples [from Harry Potter]:
Snape teaching Harry occlumency. What is the memory that Harry sees? Snape being bullied by James while in Hogwarts. Snape does not retain recent memories easily accessible but the memories from Hogwarts from decades prior.
Dumbledore is still haunted by his actions from as a youth of the this age group.
Pettigrew is still looking for acceptance and approval.
Hagrid continues to care for magical creatures with the same intensity as in his youth.
Voldemort is a more complex character for this assignment. He formulates his ideas for immortality as a youth in Hogwarts.
Fred and George recognize their [skill] for business.
Dudley is a great example of a character who emerges from his teen years as maturing when he reconciles with Harry.
From this article I contend that the [three] marauders most certainly prove this point. Sirius, Lupin and Pettigrew continue to act as adults much in the same manner as they did while in Hogwarts.
We catch a glimpse of the same principle with Harry, Ron and Hermione in the epilogue.
I hope you find this suggestion interesting and worth investigating for a future podcast
We certainly do! And, fortunately, the perfect professor and Potter Pundit agreed to share her thoughts on the subject, Pepperdine Associate Professor of Education Carrie Birmingham. Prof Birmingham, in addition to teaching teachers how to teach at the college level, has taught children and young adults K-8, in middle school, and in high school as well. As important for tonight’s conversation, she has published articles about the Harry Potter series, spoken at Fandom conferences, and frequently uses Hogwarts examples in her Seaver College-Pepperdine classroom.
In tonight’s conversation with Prof Birmingham about the lasting influence, good and bad, of our high school years on our individual and collective psyche, we’ll be discussing what makes a schoolboy novel work, whether Hermione (and Jo Rowling) are the happy girl survivors of the school gauntlet, why Dumbledore chose to be Hogwarts Headmaster instead of Minister of Magic (and what reasons the Dark Lord had for wanting to join the faculty), as well as Harry and Tom Riddle, Jr’s parallel experiences as adolescents and whether Hogwarts in the end is really anything like schools we know at all.
We all have been or are currently adolescents and the great majority of us both love Harry Potter and love/hate what happened to us in school, for better or worse. Order up a Butter beer or Fire Whiskey from Aberforth, pull up a bar stool, and join us for conversation about the effects of secondary education in the Hogwarts Saga, our own lives, and schoolboy fiction!