Keith Hawk (KH) John Granger (JG) Edmund Kern (EK) Josée Leblanc (JL) Judge Karen Morris (KM) Dolores Gordon-Smith (DG) Joel Hunter (JH) Amy Sturgis (AS) John Mark Reynolds (JR) Louise Freeman (LF) Katy McDaniel (KMC) Nancy Reagin (NR)
KH: This lesson of MuggleNet Academia is brought to you by Audible. Please visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleNet for your free audiobook download.
Harry: I'm so bored, and we don't even have any homework to keep us busy.
Ron: Do you want to play a round of wizard chess?
Harry: No, you'll just win.
Hermione: Did I hear you two were bored?
Harry and Ron: Uhh...
Hermione: Come with me, then.
Ron: Hermione, where are you taking us?
Hermione: Don't ask, just follow. Stand here a moment.
Harry: But this is just the Room of Requirement.
Hermione: We need access to the lecture. We need access to the lecture.
Ron: Uhh, why is there a lecture hall in here? Looks like half the school's in there.
Hermione: Because Professor John Granger and Keith Hawk are about to host the one-year anniversary lecture of MuggleNet Academia.
Ron: Professor Granger? Any relation to you, then?
Hermione: I am so tired of people asking me about that.
Ron: Don't flatter yourself. Nobody asks you about that.
Harry: I don't know, Ron. It might be fun.
Hermione: Of course it will be! They'll be doing more in-depth analyses with a panel of their previous wizarding world and literary experts. I can't wait! Come on, then. They're about to start! Let's grab a seat.
[Show music begins]
Eric: Hey! Josée! Wait up!
JL: Oh hi, Eric! I'm sorry, I really can't talk right now. I'm running late.
Eric: Late? Late for what?
JL: Oh, it's because I have to go meet Keith and John Granger. I'm actually going to listen to a Harry Potter literature lesson at MuggleNet Academia.
Eric: Oh cool, that sounds awesome. Can I come with?
JL: Yes, of course you can. Just come with me.
Eric: Okay. Let's go!
[Show music continues]
KH: Welcome back to MuggleNet Academia. This is our one-year anniversary spectacular, Lesson 20. John, it's been a full year. Can you believe this?
JG: It's been a wonderful year, Keith. And thank you for all you've done to make it possible.
KH: It's been a great year, and thank you for bringing all these special guests. We have a special show lined up today. It's going to be a lot of fun, just something totally different. There's not a basic subject of this show except to celebrate our one-year anniversary. On the line with us, we have about ten of our previous special guest professors, judges, authors. Wow, we have a whole show here. All right, before we get into the show though, John, I do want to read back a feedback that we had on iTunes. This comes in from Somebody2luv and it says:
"Prayers answered! I've been reading HP since I was in 6th grade. I listened to MuggleCast for forever, back in the Andrew, Jamie, Micah, Laura, and Eric days. Then I got older, went to university, and became hungry for more depth into HP. I knew it was there, I could feel it, but had no idea how to explain it! Then I found Travis Prinzi's PubCast but sadly not all the episodes are available. I was heartbroken and frankly depressed about it. Then by magic or something, I came across this podcast and it's like my prayers are answered! Finally! I can sink my teeth again into the wonderful world Ms. Rowling created! I love how this podcast approaches and analyzes from all different angles and subjects! So far I've listened to seven episodes but I'm hooked! Thank you, Keith, for creating this, bring John on board, and I love all your guests and that you include other students as well. Keep up the amazing job!"
I love it. We've had such good reviews on iTunes. If you're listening to the show, please do us a favour. Go over to iTunes, give us a five-star rating, and tell us why you love the show so much because frankly there's no reason not to love this show.
JG: I hope that Somebody2luv will be at MISTI-Con which is where we'll be in two weeks, right?
KH: Oh, I can't wait. Two weeks, we're going to be at MISTI-Con and MuggleNet Academia is pleased to be there as the keynote luncheon. We will have our keynote speech on Friday and who are we having that with, John?
JG: Janet Scott Batchler, noted screenwriter and she's a professor at University of Southern California and she's the author of a book on Harry Potter that came out right before Deathly Hallows came out. She's a great friend of mine and she's going to talk about... obviously, her expertise is going to be on the adaptation of novels to the screen and how that was done with Harry Potter, how it could have been done better, what things they did really well. It's going to be a great show.
[Show music begins]
KH: And that's going to be a lot of fun because we're going to have a lot of people there, five hundred guests. I don't know how many are attending the keynote luncheon, but I'm hoping a good fair number of them will be there and asking all kinds of questions. It'll be a good in-depth discussion. It will be released as a live podcast. We have that to look forward to, but we have this one first. So we'll kick off this show right after a word from our sponsor.
[Show music continues]
KH: Before we get into our lesson today, I would like to take this moment to thank our sponsor, Audible. If you are not familiar with Audible, Audible is the Internet's leading provider of spoken audio entertainment with over 40,000 titles to choose from. If you have a genre you prefer to listen to, such as the immensely popular young adult genre, they will most certainly have the right selection for you to choose from. If you go right now to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleNet, that's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleNet, you can get yourself a free Audible book to download when you sign up for their service. And if you're wondering which book to get with your free audiobook download, I would suggest perhaps The Magicians or The Magician King by Lev Grossman, a book that will certainly appeal to almost every Harry Potter fan. Or if you have already finished listening to the Lev Grossman books, then perhaps you'd like to dive into some JRR Tolkien with The Hobbit, as Tolkien is certainly discussed on many of our lessons here on the show. If none of those tickles your fancy, then don't worry. There are still over 40,000 titles left for you to choose from. So once again, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleNet and get your free download today.
All right, it's here. Let's get this going, our one-year anniversary show. What I want to do is just tell everybody who's on the line and we're going to do it from our oldest episode to our most recent episode. So we'll start off with Edmund Kern, "Harry Potter and the Sexual Innuendos." Ed, how are you today?
EK: I'm doing well. Thanks for having me on again.
KH: Oh, it's wonderful. We had a great time with you on Lesson 2.
EK: We did indeed, it was a great topic. We talked for quite some time, but it seemed like about fifteen minutes.
EK: It was a really great exchange of ideas.
JG: Wow, it's a year ago so the trees are blooming again in beautiful Appleton, Wisconsin.
EK: They are indeed.
JG: We've gone the full cycle.
KH: And Lesson 3 we have Josée Leblanc, who is the "Parseltongue, Gobbledegook, and Troll: Translating Harry Potter." Hello, Josée.
JL: Hi. To quote Hagrid, "Bong-sewer" or Bonsoir.
[JG and KH laugh]
JL: That was Hagrid's attempt in Goblet of Fire for those who didn't get it. "Bong-sewer" was his way of trying to pronounce "Good evening" to Madame Maxime.
KH: We got it!
[JG and KH laugh]
KH: Lesson 4, Judge Karen Morris is here from "The Law in Harry Potter." Hello, Judge.
KM: Hello there. So happy to be back.
KH: Wonderful to have you back.
KM: Well, thank you.
JG: How's the weather in Rochester?
KM: The weather in Rochester is finally getting nice, getting springy. The snow is gone...
JG: Hooray! We had rain here in Oklahoma and I was trying to describe to people what it was like in Rochester and they couldn't believe the amount of rain they get in Rochester and Syracuse. And I was like, "Well, you couldn't believe it. You couldn't believe it."
KH: Lesson 5, we have the great author Dolores Gordon-Smith...
KH: ...mystery writer. "Rowling: The Great Mystery Writer" was her topic. Dolores is a great friend of MuggleNet Academia. We even had her daughter on the show as a student recently. Hello, Dolores. How are you?
KH: Also joining the show, Lesson 7, Joel Hunter, "Folktale Structure as the Key to Success of the Harry Potter Series." Hello, Joel.
JH: Hello, everybody.
JG: Joel, have you finished your essay for our friends at St. Andrews?
JH:[laughs] You would ask me that, wouldn't you John? No, I'm not going to make the deadline.
JG: Oh, Joel. I feel so much better hearing you say that because I'm right up against it. I'm right up against it. [laughs]
KH: And next up, we have Lesson 9 with Dr. Amy Sturgis, "Fairy Stories: Comparing Rowling and Tolkien Literature." Hello, Amy. How are you?
AS: Hello, doing well thank you. And happy first anniversary. Congratulations!
KH: Thank you very much.
JG: Oh thank you, and thank you for all you did to get us here. And I got to see you just a couple of weeks ago, Amy. I feel like this is... you're turning into a regular here. This is great. And Amy, they don't know that you're from Oklahoma, but I do.
JG: And I want you to know that there pollen stains on my car right now. I mean, this place is...
AS: Oh dear, I feel your pain. I feel your pain. And I hope that our paths cross again in person very, very soon. That was fabulous.
JG: Yeah, it was good to see you.
KH: And Lesson 10, "What is Harry Potter Canon?," one of my favorite episodes. I love talking about canon. John Mark Reynolds, how are you today?
JR: I am great. And I would do anything for John Granger, so I've already scheduled for the 25th anniversary.
[JG and KH laugh]
JR:[unintelligible] ...a sequel to Back to Barterra by the way, because John Granger appears as a character.
JR: Yeah, you're really... you're there. I'll have to get your permission, but there you are.
JG: Am I a dragon or a drake in this book?
JR:[laughs] No, you're yourself. You're your wise self.
JG: Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Well, I hope I get to have some input into the editing of this book, so maybe... [laughs] you have my approval attentively on this. I'm looking forward to seeing this.
JR: Yeah. Well, you'll be played by Ewan McGregor in the film. So relax.
JG: Very good. Thank you. Thank you very much.
KH: All right, and on to Lesson 11, "The Psychology of Harry Potter" with Professor Louise Freeman. Hello Louise, how are you?
LF: Hello! Nice to be back.
KH: It's nice to have you back.
JG: My friend from Mary Baldwin and my adjunct professor at HogwartsProfessor.com. I shouldn't say adjunct, she's the full deal. In fact, she's written some things on the Divergent trilogy, which the author responded to personally and said that she was spot on. The first time in my experience writing about a major series that someone at my website - and it had to be somebody other than me - got feedback from the author saying you're absolutely correct. Thank you, Louise, for making us look so smart.
LF: Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity. It's been a real privilege to both write for that site and to be here on MuggleNet Academia.
JG: Oh, my goodness. Keith, my headset. I can barely keep my headset on. This is too much. I love it.
KH: It's a great show, I'm having so much fun. All right, now Lesson 12 we have "Elfin Mystique in the Harry Potter Series" with Professor Katy McDaniel. Hi Katy, how are you?
KMC: Hi, I'm doing well. I have three small kids at home, so this is a little vacation for me while my husband does bedtime. [laughs]
JG: Oh my goodness, this is great! This is great! But you have a new one, right? You did your show right after the baby was born, so...
KMC: That's right. He's nine months now.
JG: Oh my goodness, wow.
KMC: It's been a year that this has been going on. And he's name is Griffin, right?
JG: Yes, right. Griffin.
KH: Griffindor. That's right.
KH: And last but not least, we have our history teacher, Nancy Reagin. How are you, Nancy? It's been so long since we talked to you.
KH: Our last lesson, Lesson 19. [laughs]
NR: It hasn't been long at all, but I'm really glad to be back.
JG: And here's the thing, is that from Ed's talk, really, at the dawn of the show until Nancy's appearance just this last month, our downloads keep going up and up and up and up. You know, Keith, it's pretty easy to sign people up when you can tell them that more than ten thousand people are guaranteed to download the show and we can go well upwards of that. Nancy's show, I think, was... I guess we're not supposed to talk about numbers, but it was well above that number. Thank you, Nancy, for a great show and for making us all look so good.
NR: Oh, well thank you for giving me the opportunity to reach a much larger audience that I ever could in any lecture hall I've ever been in. [laughs]
JG:[laughs] Yeah, other than the... what stadium close to a giant stadium in New York, or a Yankees stadium...
NR: Yeah, I taught at University of Texas at Austin when I was younger, but even they don't have lecture halls this large.
KH: Speaking of University of Texas at Austin, congratulations, University of Texas at Austin. They just defeated the UCLA for the Quidditch World Cup three weekends ago down in Kissimmee, Florida.
NR: Woo! Hook 'em horns!
KH: Well, they won.
JG: What a segue! What a segue there!
KH: Did you like that? That was a good segue. [laughs]
JG: You know, I bet they put that on... they probably have bumper stickers: "University of Texas: Quidditch World Cup Champions." Crazy. [laughs]
KH: Let's get into the show, John. Are you ready?
JG: I'm ready! I'm ready.
KH: All right. So welcome back to MuggleNet Academia, everybody. We have a gang of our first year's special guests who could come back to tonight's anniversary party. We're hoping that each of them can share their experience, consequences of the program, and any ideas that they wish to share while on the show. So John, why don't you lead it off with our first question tonight?
JG: Okay, folks, the gang's all here. What was the most interesting feedback you received from a listener or a colleague or maybe your boss consequent to your conversation with the MuggleNet Academia regulars? I mean, John Mark Reynolds, I want to start with you, okay? You're the pro of us, you're the big guy at Houston Baptist University. Do they really like you slumming down here in fandom land? What do they say?
JR: They actually love it, but then... because I'm the chief academic officer, what choice do they have?
JR: No, the boss, Robert Sloan, is the lead in this sort of thing. Look, the future of higher education isn't going to be about more and more people talking to less and less people about things they care less and less about. It's going to be drawing people into the great conversation, but dealing with issues they do care about and books they are reading. So I'm excited.
JG: That's great, I love it. So Robert Sloan pulled you aside and said, "Great job, John Mark, I listened to the podcast the other night, you were great"?
JR: Well, I can't say that he directly listened to the podcast. But when he heard I did it, he didn't make retching noises.
JR:[unintelligible] No, the boss is the most innovative college president in the United States.
JR: He gets this sort of thing.
JG: I love it, I love it. Amy, any noises from the colleagues?
AS: Well, our show ran - our episode, I should say - shortly after one of my graduate classes ended, and I had seen a couple of my students on campus and they were pretty much pining the discussions we had. So I sent out an email before our episode aired and said, "I wanted to make sure you know about the podcast and the show will be on..." I got a lovely email back saying that... one of my students who was just down in the dumps, missing his discussions, was now not only listening to the podcast but he was getting some of his classmates together so they could all listen to it together. And said that, in fact, this podcast was "scratching their post-class itch."
AS: So I think that is a good sign.
JG: I love it. A bodily affirmation. I love it.
JG: Dolores, are you out there? What was the response in the UK?
DG: Well it was pretty good, actually. A good friend of mine, a guy called John Curran, who is an expert in Agatha Christie, he was absolutely delighted with the show. He doesn't know about Harry Potter, I'm hoping to convert him, but he said he was just so thrilled to hear Ronald Knox and Harry Potter mentioned in the same sentence.
DG: He thought... [unintelligible][laughs]
JG: Ed? Ed?
EK: Well, you know, not only in my... as someone who takes a look at Harry Potter on campus but I also take a look at history of witchcraft and superstitions, so my colleagues and students are used to thinking me as someone who goes off in strange directions as it were. So there was nothing surprising coming from my colleagues.
EK: One of them did tell me, though, when she heard about what I was talking about - and I love, of course, the double-entendre - she said to me, "You can always find sex if you are willing to look for it."
EK: So I thought that was [unintelligible] of the topic of our episode.
JG: Now Joel, are you out there? We had a more mundane topic here about folktale structure or whatever. Was there any response there from the Barrett folks?
JH: Well I can't say that my colleagues tune in regularly to our show, but the discussions I've had... I've actually been talking about this idea for some time, and really I have to give credit to my colleagues who are helping me flesh out some of the directions I went with it. One was that I was encouraged to think about how... you have to create concepts sometimes to make sense of the sort of things we were doing with the folktale structure. And we work with Vladimir Propp's work but he doesn't answer all the questions that we want to ask of the series, through that framework. So that was encouraging. I got that sort of intellectual stimulation.
JG: You actually got professional feedback. I love it!
JH: No, not from the show, but just with the ideas that we talked about on the show.
JG: I love it, I love it.
JH: But then there's the [unintelligible] of being in the Honors college. You never quite know if you're attracting the attention of lots of Harry Potter fans. But they keep filling up the class, so that's a good sign.
JG:[laughs] Yeah, I love it. Josée, from the far north? We've gone from Arizona all the way up to Canada here. What was your feedback? What was feedback to you, from this?
JL: Well, one fun fact that happened after the podcast was aired was that some colleagues that I really didn't know about emailed me, saying, "Oh, I heard you on MuggleNet Academia." And I work for a small organization with two hundred and fifty employees, and I wasn't aware that there were other Harry Potter fans out there. So that was kind of a nice experience in managing to find fellow Potter fans in the workplace.
JG: Judge Karen, do any of the lawyers say to you, "How can I take you seriously? You're on fandom podcasts."
KM: To the contrary, all lovers of Harry Potter thought the idea of bringing in the law to the storyline was great. And a lot of non-lawyers don't always think of law as a scintillating topic and all of a sudden, the Harry Potter application showed that law is indeed a very contemporary topic. And plus, as an educator, people of course learn best when the concepts are applied to facts that they know. So educators applauded the effort as well, so it was received very well in my world.
JG: I love that. I love that. Louise, down in Mary Baldwin College, what's up?
LF: Well, I heard from a couple of colleagues that listened in on the show. I think in my case they were seeing me out of my usual element, I must say.
LF: They usually think of me as the one who is in the lab with a microscope in the shrew brains and doing maybe neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, behavioral neuroscience stuff. So [when] they hear me on the air, talking about Winky and Stockholm Syndrome...
LF: ...it's a bit of a shift for them. But I think they appreciate it.
JG: Speaking of house-elves, Kathryn McDaniel, what feedback did you get?
KMC: Well, I'm sort of known on my campus for not really embracing technology. I always say that my favorite kind of technology is the overhead projector. Only two things ever go wrong with it: it's unplugged or the bulb blows. But our tech person, in helping me get this together, she said: "It's going to snow in Florida this year because you're actually doing a podcast!" But I had a great time with it. And when Keith, I guess, sent me the numbers, I had the same reaction that other people had talked about when I said this to my colleagues. They said you never get anything... you wouldn't even get a hundred times that at a conference. So just an amazing forum for people to be able to talk about these ideas, I think.
JG: Which brings us back to Nancy. Yankee Stadium.
NR: Yeah. To me, the amazing thing was the number of downloads, which Keith told me about. And you just do not get that in academia. And I remember I mentioned it to my dean and I said... because you're supposed to submit whatever you did that month into our little university newsletter. I said, "Should I mention that?" and she thought about it and said, "No, better not."
[JG and NR laugh]
NR: That sounds too... but then my student aide and a number of the students I knew are big followers of MuggleNet and they had seen it independently without my telling them. So they thought that was absolutely the coolest thing ever. It was much cooler than any of the history books I had published.
NR: So to me, it was an interesting illustration that the division between the insiders and the Muggles exists in my world as well as in the Harry Potter series. The dean is obviously the Muggle here.
JG: Wow. I think I've talked about everybody here. Are we onto the next question?
KH: Yeah, but I want to tell you something else. Not only is it the large number of downloads, but it's where we're all reaching. Do you guys realize that we've hit 165 countries? How does that make you feel?
KMC: It's like a Harry Potter movie!
JG: That's right.
KH: Exactly, exactly.
JG: That's right. How many of you can name 165 countries? I'm trying to figure that out.
JR: I think I can, but I'm hoping for the one fan from Andorra. I will send a free copy of every book I have ever written for the one Harry Potter fan from Andorra if they'll just call the show.
KH: That's what we have. We have one download from Andorra.
[JG and KH laugh]
JR: Well, I'm waiting. I'm waiting to hear from that person. This is their chance.
KH:[laughs] Well, now we want to follow up with everybody on another one. You go through this, you prepare for this show, and the questions come and your answers just flow off, and we get into a natural rhythm and a natural conversation on the show, and it's wonderful. But when you hang up, when you're all done and the show's over, do you go, "Oh! I didn't bring up this," or, "Oh, I forgot to mention that"? Or six weeks later you get the brainstorm that you should have brought something up on the show. Has that happened to anybody, and if so what was it that you would like to share now that you forgot to share back then on the regular show? Let's start off with Josée.
JL: One thing that I did forget, and I kind of smacked myself on the forehead, was to talk about the "I am Voldemort" anagram that turned from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" into "I am [Lord] Voldemort" in Chamber of Secrets. Now, a lot of translators left it in English. But some translators actually went through the trouble of translating the anagram, and so they had to change Tom Riddle's name accordingly so that the anagram would match. So that means that in French, Tom's middle name is Elvis.
KH: Oh, wow.
JL: Yeah. So that Marvolo Gaunt is Elvis Gaunt, or... actually, I don't remember his last name by heart. It might not be Gaunt. But it's Elvis.
KH: What is the translation? How does it translate?
JL: It translates to "Je suis Lord Voldemort" which is like a direct translation. But his full name is Tom Elvis Jedusor.
JG: That may be the ultimate Harry Potter trivia question. is what is Tom Riddle's middle name in French? I mean, that's great.
JL: Yeah. Elvis, yeah.
JG: And Kathryn McDaniel, did you want to bring that up? That his middle name sounds something like "house-elf"? That the Dark Lord himself has an elven, Elvis, middle name there?
JG: Kathryn, did you have something that you forgot to mention about a particular house-elf that you wanted to talk about?
KMC: Well, I sort of figured out that I had gotten through the whole episode without actually explaining what "The Elfin Mystique" was.
[JG and KMC laugh]
KMC: Well, it was the title. Just sort of gone off in all the interesting directions that we went to without saying exactly what that was.
JG: Wow. I'm afraid that's a host error, not a guest error.
JG: For which... forgive me.
KMC: But the other thing was that, John, we never talked about communists! We said we were going to talk about the house-elves and communists...
KMC: ...which was a suggestion that had come to you from some other source. Somebody had talked about the house-elf...
JG: That's right.
KMC: I guess it was Hermione leaving hats around like communist agents leaving pamphlets around or something. I don't know, something like that. And sort of talking about the whole idea of the House-Elf Liberation Front being the communist party.
JG: I get it, I get it. And so you're going to have to come back, Kathryn. You'll have another child...
JG: ...you'll name it "Dor" so you'll have "Gryffindor," and then we'll...
KMC: There you go.
JG: Joel, did you forget something?
JH: No, I can't say that I forgot something. But I did get an interesting letter from a listener that wanted me to consider Snape as fulfilling this secret victim-hero, although I think there was... I had a really nice exchange with this listener, and it was a very rich idea, but that is a different take on what I was doing. But I like that. You never know how people are going to respond and what they are going to get out of the knowledge. So...
JG: Joel, I last saw you in St. Andrews, which is where I last saw Dolores. And Dolores... I know, Dolores, that you wanted to have a piece of my head when we were talking about something on our previous show. Anyway, tell me what you forgot to say, Dolores.
DG:[laughs] Piece of your head. No, you can have your head all to yourself, love.
JG: Thank you. Thank you.
DG:[laughs] What I'd liked to have added was what an absolutely fabulous device the Pensieve is. Because in mystery fiction, you often have to go over the past defense to make sense of the present. And the Pensieve is so wonderful for bringing that to life. I mean, we're there with Bob Ogden at the Gaunts, you know? And it's so real.
JG: That's right.
DG: It's just all that [unintelligible] testament to how she makes the past so come to life in the story through the device of the Pensieve. Really classic stuff. That's it, I think.
JG: Okay. I get it. I get it. And she's now the envy of every mystery writer who can't use that device because it's in Harry Potter world.
DG: Yes, that's right. That's right. [laughs]
JG: Ed? Ed, did you have any kind of sexual thing that you wanted to share...
[EK and JG laugh]
JG: ...that you never got to share here?
EK: Well, not really. No. And I was kind of really wracking my brains, trying to think back to about a year ago. But the closest I could come to thinking of not having mentioned something was talking about Rowling's blend of fantasy and realism in the series, and how she pulls that off. And she wouldn't have been able to do so in quite the way she does if she had made the sexuality more overt, which is why I think that there is a lot of gesturing in the direction of relationships and sexuality rather than anything put directly on the page.
JG: Well Ed, I have something that I regret that I actually said on the show, is what it meant that Hermione turned into a small cat on the show.
EK:[laughs] I do recall that.
JG: I got more than a little grief for that little bit, so...
JG: Anyway... and I had to revisit it right here. Louise...
EK: And you handed it off right to me to deal with, as I recall.
JG:[laughs] That's right.
JG: "What do you think of that, Ed?" "I think you're crazy, John!" And now I go to the psychology professor because John needs analysis. Louise?
LF: Yeah, John. You deserve the grief for that one.
LF: But on the psychology show, again this is a listener who wrote in to remind us of this the next week. We did psychological analysis of a lot of characters, but we wound out leaving out Snape. Which is a pretty big omission.
JG: Oh, my goodness.
LF: And what his motivations were. So I really wish we had time to go back and give him the attention that he deserved because, of course, that's a big twist in the whole... of course, that's where the major twists in the entire series...
LF: Like with a lot of things with Snape, we are led to believe he is this very sociophathic, without empathy, without pity, type of guy. Hating Harry for no good reason, betraying Dumbledore. And then, of course, the revelation at the end is that he had this great love and this great motivation by his love for Lily.
JG: We did the psychology show and left out the big twist that defines the series. I love it. All right, again, sounds like a hosts' failure there. Again, forgive me. This is great. This is the mea culpa edition of the show here. Karen?
KM: I love that there's the opportunity to correct an omission. For me, it was just that we were, of course, time limited, so there are so many examples of vignettes in the storyline that implicate the law and we couldn't do them all. But if I was doing the show today, the one issue that I would discuss that we didn't discuss was emergency restrictions and the discussion would be prompted by what happened at the Boston Marathon. So you remember, following the attacks on Muggle-borns by the Heir of Slytherin, Hogwarts adopted these new restrictions on student activities to protect their safety. So there was a six o'clock curfew, students couldn't go to class without a teacher escort. And we saw in Boston, the government requiring that everybody remain in their houses while the alleged bombers were on the loose. We also saw in the news lots of discussion about exceptions to Miranda warnings when security is at issue and the government indeed has the duty to protect the citizenry and the corresponding right to limit, in emergency situations, our rights. So if we were doing it anew today, that would be high on the list of topics to discuss.
KH: That would be a whole show right in of itself.
JG: I love it!
KH: Wow. That's great. I love that.
JG: I would invite John Mark as my guest, to see if he would want to discuss that. John Mark, what did we leave out of your show?
JR: Well, I think two things. First of all, the impact on canon discussions of commercialism, of consumerism. If my view is correct, then we should limit the canon to the published books. It's interesting to note that that means a lot of people would lose a lot of money, and so...
JR: ...I wondered if some discussions... how much people who take a more restricted view of the canon are just chasing off giant marketing corporations. And I'm not talking about the author here. She seems to be a good egg about that sort of thing. But then the second thing is... I think it's a really interesting question, of how dated the books are. Do the Harry Potter books appeal to kids coming into high school in the year 2013? And I think that's really an open question. I have a good friend, Lindsay Marshall, who teaches high school, and it's not clear that the Harry Potter books are speaking outside the generation that they were written for.
JG: Do you think it's a technological thing? Do you think there's not enough iPod and Twitter action inside the books?
JR: Well, I think that people are going to have to accept the fact that the films are the main way that anybody comes to Harry Potter now. They absolutely overwhelm the books - the books look like film adaptations. And the films grow increasingly dated, and how you feel about the actors and how you feel about what's going on in the films will depend on how you feel about the books when you turn to them, or if you turn to the books. It's a little bit like what happened to Star Trek fandom as the characters aged.
KH: Yeah, but isn't it possible that it could also be due to the number of other series that are hitting the markets at the same time? The Divergent series and everything...
JG: We're ready to do another show. I know we're going to dive into this. John Mark, we're scheduling you for next year. We're going to have this out.
JR:[laughs] Okay. That sounds good.
JG: Nancy, you haven't had much time to think about what we haven't talked about yet. What did we leave out?
NR: No, no. Well actually, in our talk we stayed mostly in the twentieth century, and we particularly spent a lot of time on the parallels to Nazi Germany and issues of terrorist movements of the twentieth century. And the whole piece that we didn't get to was the enormous number of examples from the history of European magic that she worked into the series...
JG: There you go.
NR: ...that were really interesting. A lot of Harry Potter fans don't realize that objects like Bezoars or Mandrakes - well, I think everyone knows about cauldrons - but a lot of the stuff and the objects that you see Harry and his friends learning about at Hogwarts, she didn't make up. She obviously did a lot of research on the history of European magic and popular magical beliefs, particularly from the medieval and early modern period, and that shows up in canon a lot. And we didn't end up talking about that, but I guess we don't have to. But if anyone ever went to Vienna, they should definitely go to the state. Several museums there have enormous collections of Bezoars because that was a very popular collectible for early modern rulers, aristocrats, kings, and even the emporer.
JG: I love this idea. We'll have the Bezoar tour. We'll do a Bezoar tour for Muggles of Europe.
NR: It was... oh, you could. You absolutely could. They have room after room of Bezoars in different kinds of...
NR:...filigree, in gold and bejeweled settings, because people would collect them just like they would collect reliquaries of Saint's relics.
JG: Boy. Amy, do you have a Bezoar?
AS:[laughs] I do not. I didn't realize how lacking my collection was.
JG: There you go. You're not really a Harry Potter fan until you've got your...
JG: ...gilded Bezoar. All right. I am going on that tour, Nancy. Amy, what did we leave out of your show?
AS: Well, we left out a key point of similarity between Tolkien and Rowling, and that is...
JG: Uh oh.
AS: ...a distinction that Tolkien made between allegory and applicability. He wasn't fond of direct allegory in works - a one-to-one correspondence between a character and an idea or an event, and something that he would write about in his plot - he found it limited what a text could say, and so he tried to dissuade people from reading his work that way. For example: yes, World War II was a tremendous influence. All Nazis may be Orcs, but not all Orcs are Nazis. If that were the case then after the war was through, well, we don't have to worry about evil anymore. So...
AS: ...what he was looking for was something like lasting applicability, and he didn't want people to draw mere one-to-one correspondences. Looking for influences made lots of sense, but he didn't want people to think that he was just retelling a story in an allegorical way. And I think the same is true for Rowling. She's drawn from so much - and Nancy talked about a lot of that - but she also says her work isn't a direct allegory. She, too, prefers applicability in the larger sense. And so you can see things from World War II to 9/11 and beyond in her work and those allusions influence the power of her story and give depth and texture to her world, but we shouldn't look for a simple one-to-one correspondence, and I think that's another example of the way the artistry in storytelling is shared. You can see it in both Tolkein and Rowling, their sort of attitude toward story and what it should do.
JG: Wow. Amy, I'm reading Lewis' Allegory of Love right now because I'm giving a series of talks on the Chronicles of Narnia and so we're going to have you back so we can talk about allegory and symbolism as the inklings understand it and the role of imagination between those two things. Anyway...
AS: Ooh, fabulous.
JG: I wanted this to be the Amy Sturgis Show. All of you go home. I was going to talk to Amy.
JG: Next question. Is it your turn, Keith?
KH: Sure. Yeah, I'll go now. This is a little bit different, though. Instead of all about your show, it's about other shows. So... and this may not apply to you. Hopefully you had the chance to listen to another show other than your own, and what show that you might have listened to out of interest would you have liked to have been a live participant on? Instead of a listener of the show, like you downloaded on iTunes and just listened, you would have been here saying, "Oh! I like this and this is what I have to say about that particular show." So, how about we comment on another show?
JG: Dolores writes to me and says to me, "John, you blew it! You didn't ask this question."
JG: And the one I really remember, Dolores, was about Reverend Reginald Knox and Sherlock Holmes. What did we blow on that?
DG: Oh, golly. You put me on the spot here.
JG: I put you on the spot.
DG: I can't actually remember. [laughs]
JG: It was the canon show. It was the John Mark canon show...
JG: ...and you reminded me - or you told me - I didn't know this...
DG: Oh, yeah! Yeah, no, sorry. I've just remembered what it was, that all the way through that canon show I was waiting for you to tell us about the history of how we talk about the canon as a part of literature. And it was Ronald Knox who invented it. Because he was a priest, he talked about the canon of the mass, you know, canon law and all this sort of thing, and tongue in cheek he invented ten rules for detective fiction and that's where we get the whole term from. And he really invented all this idea of taking a fictional world and treating it as if it was real. I mean he was doing it for fun.
KMC: He was one of the founding members of the Sherlock Holmes fandom, too.
DG: That's right. He was. Him and Dorothy L Sayers hit the whole thing off.
JR: As a guest on the show, I would like to throw John under the bus...
JR: ...and simply blame him for that.
JG: Oh, no!
JG: It is my fault. It is my fault.
JR: No, no, it really isn't. And now I just want to sit and listen to you talk about that. It's true that Sherlock Holmes fandom - there's an interesting question about whether we should count the later things that Doyle wrote when he was kind of under a financial compulsion, what we might think of as the lesser stories. Do they count and why do they count?
DG: Well, don't call them lesser stories. I mean, one of the ones he wrote when he was feeling thoroughly ticked off with Sherlock Holmes is The Hound of the Baskervilles.
JR: A very genetic story.
NR: I think one's motivation doesn't always have a direct link to the outcome.
NR: If I could have phoned in a question, I would have phoned into the political science of the Harry Potter series where you had Daniel Nexon. I was hoping he would speak about how do they actually elect the Minister for Magic. [laughs]
JG: There you go!
NR: Well, not that he would know. But I would have loved to have heard him spectulate about it. We are always never really told. How do they select the Minister for Magic? I mean, how does that system actually work? And yeah, you could say it's descended from the Wizengamot of early modern England, of [unintelligible] England, but I doubt it is. So yeah, I'd love...
JG: Did they have the authority to turn it down? We see Dumbledore turns the thing down. Is that a possibility? Anyway, great question, Nancy. Amy?
NR:[unintelligible] ...at some point, but we don't find out exactly how that happened.
JG: You're right. You're right. Amy, what show did you want to jump in on?
AS: Well, I want to preface this by saying I am not just a former guest visitor, I am also a fan of the podcast, so I have listened to every episode.
AS: And it's a very tough, tough question to answer, but I'm going to cheat and I'm going to say Episode 12 with Dr. McDaniel.
AS: Partially, just very selfishly, I was privileged enough to be the editor who was lucky enough to get the "Elfin Mystique" essay for my collection.
AS: So I got to see it when we still had books coming out, more Harry Potter books to come. And I would just have loved to have been there. You all talked about this, but I would have loved for you to talk even more about how the later books fit into that thesis about house-elves and gender, and also particularly how what we know about Hermione's future life after the books might play into our understanding of both the house-elves and our understanding of gender because of her possible future relationship also with the house-elves question, even after the books end. But that was a fabulous show. But, you know, every single one has been fabulous.
KMC: If I could say too...
NR: Yeah, because she always gets smart [unintelligible] that's why.
KMC: Amy, I was going to say that I think that when you said that, how did the later books stack up, because I wrote the original paper before they were completed and I think one of the things that I got from the show was to think more about Hokey, who I don't think very much about I guess, but I think that what we were talking about on the show really brought home that she also is the center of these very constrained house-elves and so I'm thinking more about her, so that's been a way that it's helped my thinking of it.
AS: Oh, fabulous! I can't wait to see what you come up with.
JG: Now, I can't go down my list and get all of you to answer this. You guys jump in here. What did we miss here? I knew Dolores had something ready for me, but who else has got something that I missed here?
KM: I love cross-disciplinary discussions, so I would have loved to have been a part of any of them and added some issues relating to law along with the other issues and played off the knowledge of the other professor and gone back and forth with that. So any of them would have been great.
JG: That's the best feedback we've had so far, is that you just wanted to be part of the conversation because you love it.
JG: And that's... seriously! People talk about they like the show and this and that, and they thank me for it or whatever. These are all my friends! [laughs] This is like... people say, "This is so good, the questions are so interesting." I thought, "Actually, this is just conversation with really intelligent people. This is hard work?"
KH: John, going back to Judge Karen though, she was at the live show with Heidi Tandy. Do you remember?
JG: That's right.
KH: She was down at Ascendio...
JG: That's right.
KH: ...when we were talking. So she has been a live participant. [laughs]
DG: Could I jump in for a minute?
JG: You did, Dolores! You did!
DG: Yeah. For Kathryn, Kathryn McDaniel, the house-elves show was wonderful.
KMC: Thank you!
DG: Yeah, so interesting. And I was actually part of the conversation although you couldn't hear me, I was just shouting at the radio.
DG: But now you can hear me. What I want to ask is, the whole Hermione with SPEW thing, remembering that JK Rowling has worked for Amnesty International, I've often thought that's a comment on the idea of giving people what you think they want rather than what they think they want.
KMC: I think that's fair. Mhm. Yeah. And the problem is that she's approaching maybe what... I do think that JK Rowling thinks the house-elves should be free, but I don't think that Hermione is approaching it the right way. You can't give people freedom. They have to come to it for themselves and I think that that's one of the things that's very difficult about... when you're working with people, especially in other cultures, where you potentially fail to meet them on their own cultural terms and then you lose whatever persuasion you might otherwise have had.
JR: So I have a question about this house-elves issue - this is John Mark Reynolds - is it possible in fantasy literature... not your real life, this wouldn't apply to any human being, but is it possible to create a set of characters who are what Aristotle would call "natural slaves"? People who like being slaves and are best suited to a condition that we would call "slavery"? And if so, is an author allowed to create such a set of characters or are the implications just so bad that we shouldn't let them do it?
KMC: I think it's possible to do it, I would say, but I don't think JK Rowling is doing it because I don't think that that idea actually fits with the overall themes of her books and I think she introduces us to the house-elves with Dobby, who very clearly should be free and I think that she then kind of backtracks to say, "Maybe that's a difficult proposition." But one of the reasons that people got so heated up about the topic and I started to think about it to begin with was this question of whether you can actually have natural slaves. I think you could but I just don't think that Rowling is doing that particular thing.
JR: I think that's probably true, though you could argue that Dobby is simply exceptional and that he is not a natural slave and so he is an unusual house-elf. I wouldn't want to actually defend that. I just think that sometimes fandom doesn't give an author as much flexibility to create a kind of character that doesn't exist that doesn't have an analog to humanity. Though I will admit that it's dangerous to create such a character because it might be viewed as a defense of some kind of fascist [unintelligible] or enslaving culture.
EK: On the one hand, her hands are sort of tied with regard to the folklore of house-elves because it was believed that if one showed them gratitude then they would turn against you. And so in drawing from history and drawing from legend and drawing from folklore, she oftentimes deploys these creatures in the way they were understood by past societies or at least within the stories that past societies told. And so she was sort of handcuffed in her presentation of the magic of house-elves because of that. On the other hand, I think she does deal with it rather deftly because the moral ethics of the book I think, to a large degree, is very... she shies away from being doctrinaire. She'll point to problems, she'll point to bigotry, she'll point to inequalities, but it's seldom the case that she offers a clear doctrinaire blueprint for how to deal with the problem.
JG: Absolutely. Absolutely. And another way that she's handcuffed, and to John Mark's question about what restrictions is an author writing fantasy literature subject to is... they're trying to give us an answer to larger life questions and yet to get reader engagement with the story, they have to largely confirm the reader's starting positions. So we have Harry's under the stairs and it's not any doubt that she's trying to get us engaged by having us love this abused orphan. She doesn't give us any sense that Harry is a bad character at all, so that we can be totally engaged with the injustice of his situation. And so with the house-elves, again, we see them as these... we see Dobby, and his slavery is obviously unfair, unjust. We want to be sympathizing with him. Isn't that also, John and Ed... isn't that another way that these fantasy authors, they have to give us what we already have in order to bring us to another place? That's a whole other show! That's a whole other show, I'm sorry!
LF: John, can I jump in for a moment please?
JG: Please, please!
LF: Yeah, this is Louise. It was a very interesting question. Last night, in fact, we were here in our house, trying to introduce my children to the world of Star Trek in preparation for the upcoming movie - they're not really familiar with that series and so we're watching some old episodes, watching the 2009 movie - and I was thinking then about some of the later characters that were introduced in that series - Data the android, the holographic doctor, who it seems like should be the perfect characters to be the perfect slaves. They are the devices that were invented by humans to do human jobs and purely mechanical - purely machines, basically, that people build. Yet of course, that's not what happened. I mean, both those characters developed their own souls, their own personalities, their interests, their own identities. So to answer John Mark's question, I think that's a hard thing to pull off any sort of... even in a fantasy science-fiction, even trying to invent a device that exists purely to serve humans, it just doesn't work out that well. They have a tendency to exhibit...
JR: Well, I would argue that it may be due to a defective notion of justice. One wonders if we haven't imbibed correctly the notions that equals should be treated equally. But then unequals don't necessarily require equal treatment. In fact, if we treat people who are different exactly the same way then we're behaving badly, and I wonder if I were a Star Trek character it's like a cling-on I wouldn't complain about the human racism of people who make every character human and require that they be given, quote, "human rights."
JG: I love it.
KM: I would add - this is Karen - that first going back to SPEW, I thought SPEW was such a wonderful model for the idea that if you feel strongly about an issue in social justice you can get together with like-minded people, organize, and have an effect on society. I was actually disappointed that SPEW did not carry on into subsequent books. On the issue of the elves and their lot in life, I really like the inclusion of that storyline because it allows us to think about employment issues, issues like minimum pay, paid sick leave, unions, and what is the plight of domestic service workers today. So that's...
JG: I love it. We're going to have Judge Karen and John Mark come back. We're going to do [unintelligible] versus Judge Sotomayor.
KMC: I think in the end though, SPEW had about as much effect as the Fabians. But I think that if you're thinking about Star Trek - I mean, every imaginary world that people build, they draw the building blocks of their own culture. And underneath Data is really Pinocchio. I mean, they recycle... he wants to be real, [laughs] he wants to be a real boy. But I think we're still making progress to address what John Mark said. If we have gotten to the point where we try to create these creatures or this species that would be innate or natural-born slaves, it's progress if we're at least making them not human. I mean, because until fairly recently, people would create stories where it was humans who were natural-born slaves. I mean, I'm thinking of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind...
KMC: ...where almost all of the black characters are in fact inherently slave-like. I mean, they want to be slaves. They're not actually very happy when they're freed. Or if you think about the enormous body of literature written by men where woman naturally do not want to do anything other than have children. So if we've got to the point where when we have these fantasy projections of creatures that exist only for our own gratification, or to serve us, if we at least make them not human I guess that's progress, isn't it?
JG: I should have known when we started talking about this question, this was going to turn into a show of its own because all of us love this conversation.
KMC: And the households are intrinsically interesting, John.
JG: You're not going to let me get away from this, but I'm going to get away from it! Keith, Keith! Hold them back, Keith!
KH: John is going to be asking a last call question in a little bit, but I want to ask my own question here. Every one of you are Harry Potter pundits, you have different relations with your students as far as the fandom goes, and I'm kind of curious as to what is your favorite Potter fandom story. Something like the experience that made you marvel at Pottermania or feel grateful for your part in it, or both. So if you would, one at a time, we'll start with Louise this time. What's your favorite fandom story that you've been a part of?
LF: Oh, my goodness. My favorite fandom story. Umm, that's a hard question for me.
JG: I can tell Louise's story!
LF: Okay, all right. John will give my answer for me.
JG:[laughs] I was at a conference with Louise and she had two or three students that were also presenting and their talks were brilliant. And Louise, as their mentor, you looked like a mother hen. I mean, you were so proud at what your students had done and I thought, wow, I wish I could have that on my resume, that I had brought academics to their first conference, they had wowed the people that were listening to them. Anyway, that's the moment I remember, Louise, at your conference in James Madison.
LF: Yes. Well, that's interesting because what I was going to say is that honestly all of my fandom experiences, other than going to the launch parties with my kids when the books come out, they've all been through the academic world. I mean, my first encounter with other Harry Potter fans was through reading John's books and discussions on [unintelligible]. So it may not be the typical way that you think of someone entering the fandom. You usually think of people going and dressing up in the conventions and buying the T-shirts and everything like that coming first and then the scholarly interest developing later. But for me, the academic aspect of fandom really came first to me. I'm very glad, John, that you were impressed with my students. That's always good to hear.
DG: Oh, I've got a few. John, meeting you at St. Andrews...
DG: ...was a great experience. [laughs] It really was, to put a face to the name. And being at St. Andrews, the academic conference, was just such a blast. Another personal one, I did the Studio Tour at Leavesden Studios. And you know that moment you walk into the Great Hall? Well, the floor is actually real stone flags.
DG: And me, my daughter, and my friend - there was about four of us all together - we all played at being Mad-Eye Moody stomping up the Great Hall.
[DG and JG laugh]
DG: And of course being on this podcast. Magic. [laughs]
KH: Well, now you do know, Dolores, that the royals were just there...
DG: Yeah, yeah.
KH: ...this weekend. That was...
KH: ...pretty brilliant. Actually, I don't know for anybody else who didn't see that in the news that we posted, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were there along with Prince Harry and JK Rowling, David Heyman, David Yates, Mike Newell, Matthew Lewis - all were in attendance as well. So it was actually quite a day at Leavesden Studios.
DG: Oh, yeah. Everybody playing with their magic wands, yeah. [laughs]
JG: Joel, they're about to open up or they're talking about opening up another Wizarding World of Harry Potter out on the West Coast. Are you going to travel from Arizona to go to the new theme park?
JH: Opening day, of course.
JH: As I did in Florida.
JG: What was your big thrill, Joel? Is it teaching the class at Barrett Honors College? I mean, what was it?
JH: Yeah, I would have to say it is. I certainly love the conferences and it was a joy to meet Dolores and seeing you again in Scotland. I mean, how many times do the academics get to say things like that? But another great conference just in February in Albuquerque and to see the interest in Potter from so many different angles and some interesting experient cultural studies. It just keeps going. It keeps going. But I have to tell you that as far as the students, when they read the secondary literature that we academics produce, they see right through us. Talk about canon.
JH: These students know when an academic gets their facts wrong and it's really interesting to introduce students to difficult theory like false consciousness, commodity fetishism, and all that. But their arguments often get undermined when they do not represent the facts correctly. So I am just thrilled to see students be able to reflect on very difficult literature and actually be able to improve the arguments of very good scholars.
JG: I confess, Joel, that I'm terrified that they found mistakes that I've made throughout my books and this is what you're talking about.
JH: We can talk about that offline, John. Yeah.
JG:[laughs] Amy, what is your exciting fandom moment?
AS: On the huge, grand, cosmic scale, I think attending JK Rowling's reading and signing and...
AS: ...Q&A at Carnegie Hall after Deathly Hallows was published. It was fantastic to get to see her but seeing representatives from all fifty states - some children, some grandparents, all there - there was really a sense that this was a moment of closure for the series and a celebration that was awesome. But on a more intimate level, more recently, I think it was at Lenoir-Rhyne at our first Potterfest which was three years ago - at which you spoke, John Granger...
JG: Yay! Yay!
AS: ...we had an event, a Quidditch event, on a day when the local schools were out. The entire campus community was invited and the entire region was invited and we had no idea how many people would come but we said, "Everybody is going to get to play at least one game of Quidditch." Well, hundreds of people came.
AS: Some were so young they could hardly walk and carry a broom at the same time and their parents had to follow behind them so they didn't trip over their own feet, and then some were the senior faculty at the university.
AS: And we stayed there over three hours to make sure that everybody would get to play one quick game and there was a ridiculous number of games and of course, there were multiple games going on simultaneously. But to see everyone from these toddlers, toddling around the field to, again, the senior faculty playing... so many people were in costume and so many people were excited and it was just this inter-generational celebration. It was just so heart-warming to see. So I feel blessed to have been a part of the community and the fandom for so long and to have known so many of you as friends and it's just... I'm looking forward to seeing whatever memories we're going to create here in the near future.
JG: All right! Ed?
JG: How about that crime and punishment cosplay you have up in Appleton at Lawrence, right?
EK:[laughs] No, no, no. I don't think that's it at all. There's a couple of episodes that stand out in my mind. I remember distinctly the midnight release of Goblet of Fire and as I was walking out to my car there was a girl who was perhaps thirteen standing next to a boy who was, I don't know, nine or ten and they were both wearing the glasses that the bookstore had given out. And it was about one-fifteen in the morning.
EK: I recount this little anecdote in my book and I just remember thinking, "This is something different," that there are these two kids out there. And then at Nimbus 2003, I remember being at a conference - not a conference, a session - on Harry Potter and philosophy, and a young woman dressed as Draco Malfoy asked the presenter what I thought was just a truly excellent question, and I loved the juxtaposition of the serious academic question while being dressed as Draco Malfoy.
EK: But personally the best is teaching my course and requiring students to have over 7,000 pages of prerequisite reading.
[JG and KH laugh]
EK: I just can't imagine doing that kind of course on any other topic.
JG: Well, I have an Ed Kern story. I was at the HPEF conference in Las Vegas and I came down one time before my... it was right before the luncheon talk, and there was a line that was... they had put the ropes up because it went around and around and around and around, and I said, "Who is speaking?" and they said, "This guy from Lawrence, the philosophy guy from Lawrence. He's talking about the eyes of Severus Snape!" And every person in line, many of whom were dressed as Severus Snape, all nodded their head like, "This is it for us." You must have had 600, 700 people in that line, Ed.
EK: That was fun. And then they asked me to do an encore in the afternoon, which was very gratifying. [laughs]
JG: Wow. I mean that's some...
EK: But I think our friend Severus had more to do with that than I did, though.
JG: Oh, I wish. I wish. Kathryn? Katy?
KMC: I have to say that Amy took mine because Amy actually invited me along to the Carnegie Hall reading that JK Rowling did so we were there together, agog, and that was wonderful. I also love talking to students, just what everyone was saying. And they are willing to engage with some very difficult theoretical issues if you can put it in a Harry Potter context, which I like. But I also was asked a couple of years ago to be the advisor to our school's attempt to put together a Quidditch team, and I found that very interesting [laughs] as they said... I guess they were talking about, you know, you'd need to be available for trips to the hospital and all of this and I thought, "Wow, this is some game!" So I guess I would say the level of devotion that includes bodily harm, if people are so inclined...
[AS and JG laugh]
KMC: ...I think it's pretty incredible.
KM: For me it was the conference after Fred died, and there was a room that was a shrine to Fred and it had pictures and candles. It was silent in that room no matter how many people were there and you could write notes and it just underscored for me how real the characters are to the fandom. The other thing that I would point out is the costuming.
KM: At conferences, the costuming is just fabulous. Even just the ties of the houses which let people know something about the person who is wearing them to the very elaborate costumes that are just so fascinating to watch.
KH: You actually did see me as Dumbledore, didn't you Judge?
KM: Oh, yeah. Oh, absolutely. I was talking about you. No question.
[JG, KH, and KM laugh]
KM: Great costume. But you were at a competition for great costuming.
JG: John Mark?
JR: Yes, I am here.
JG: With... you were at Biola for most of the Harry Potter releases but now you're at Houston Baptist. Do you have any wonderful Harry Potter fandom memories to share?
JR: Yeah, I guess I would say the wonderful thing about a fandom for a person who loves leading a discussion on any book, just any book, and then loves Harry Potter is that Harry Potter is a great way to start a discussion on the book. Obviously here, lots of smart people. We all want to talk about Harry Potter, so that's a good sign and I love that. The thing I would say is what I really have enjoyed watching about fandom, it's common to say how inclusive it is. Oh look, it's so diverse that actually I've enjoyed watching how not inclusive Harry Potter fandom is. It's developed its own language, most of what has been said so far about fandom would be absolutely incomprehensible to ninety-nine percent of the smart people and young adults I know.
JR: So it becomes a great way to draw lines, and draw it even social and political lines, and I would be interested in a show about how not inclusive Harry Potter is and how there are certain kinds of people that feel excluded from Harry Potter fandom.
JG: Absolutely. Absolutely. I get emails from the Harry Potter Alliance almost on a daily basis, and I think I'm a good friend of Andrew Slack. I hope he would agree to that. We have the fights that only friends can have. But I look at some of the stuff he sends out and I think, "Gosh, the borders are being drawn in darker and darker shades about who is in and who is out." Anyway, Nancy. Nancy Reagin. We've come all the way back.
NR: To me, when I first realized it was just a very interesting fan community was when I went to Witching Hour, which was the first Harry Potter con or conference that I ever went to, and it was a hybrid of both. I mean, there were really interesting panels with academic papers being given and then also everything you'd expect to see at a con, with people in costumes and really arts and crafts and fun activities and dances and masquerades. And I realized that it was in many ways very much like science fiction fan cons and also Sherlock Holmes fandom. I mean, just the continuities there between that and earlier fan communities where people do costumes, they do art, they do stories, they do music, they do roleplay. The continuity struck me very much and also the enormous amount of creativity that this canon had inspired in people. It was very moving to me.
JG: I love it.
KM: Can I add one more thing?
JG: Please, Judge.
KM: Somebody referenced the Alliance. I think that's a fabulous use of fandom.
KM: I love that the fandom is so committed to doing good deeds, addressing issues in our world. I love their slogan, "Our weapon is love." I applaud everybody involved with that.
JG: That's great. Well, here's my selfish question here before we close: What subjects and Potter Pundits, professors and such, and writers and things do you wish that we'd go to and we'd get to in our second year of MuggleNet Academia shows? What do we... I mean, John Mark has already said one and I think I'll definitely want to get to, and Judge Karen has seconded, that we need to talk about the growing liberal political profile of Harry Potter fandom. Any other ones?
AS: Ooh, may I?
JG: Please, Amy.
AS: A subject near and dear to my professional interests and work and also it ties in beautifully with what several folks have already said. I'd like to see a show focusing on an academic, scholarly look at transformative works from fan fiction to wizard rock, how the Harry Potter fandom fits into the academy's current theories and understandings of participatory culture, and what we can learn about Rowling's books from using fan works and the act of textual poaching as a reader response laboratory, if you will.
JG: All right, Amy. I'm inviting you to help me set that show up.
JG: You're the pundit I'm going to ask to be on that show.
AS: I am so there, John. [laughs]
JG: I love it. I love it. John Mark, do you want me to do the lines being drawn show? What else can we talk about here?
JR: Yeah, well, I mean the other thing that I think it would be fun to talk about are the religious implications of Harry Potter and how much are we allowed to talk about them.
KH: Ooh, I like that one. That sounds cool.
JG:[laughs] I don't know, I don't like to talk about religion.
JG: It was a joke, folks.
[AS and NR laugh]
EK: We hadn't noticed, John.
JG: Yeah, there you go. You're the only one who laughed, Ed. I don't know...
KH: Yeah, but for that show, John, you would have to be the special guest.
JG: No, no.
KH: I'll have to have another co-host.
JR: He could interview himself...
JR: ...which would be a clearly more interesting show than interviewing me, at least.
JG: Well, I don't know but it would be a nightmare in editing. Poor Keith would have to do the back and forth here. "Are you kidding?" "Yes, that's what I mean!" Seriously, there's the... Reverend Francis Bridger wrote a book on this. Maybe we can invite him for that show.
JG: Though I think his book may be out of print. I might have to shut that...
EK: Yeah, A Charmed Life, I think, was the name of his book.
KM: There's a book that's Zen of the Harry Potter and The Torah of Harry Potter.
JR: Oh, that's excellent. That would be fun.
JR: I'm working on The Theosis of Harry Potter.
JG: There we go. There we go.
KM: The what of Harry Potter?
JR:The Theosis of Harry Potter.
JG: You mean divinization and Harry Potter.
JG: The advanced placement course in transformation. I love it.
KM: How about something to do with Casual Vacancy? Maybe commonalities and differences in styles, in content, in symbolism...
JG: Oh, you're... Keith is ready. Keith has been telling me I have to do this show for... since that book came out. Haven't you, Keith?
KH: Absolutely. I would love to do a comparison show on that. And just talking about her writing techniques and how they differ, so maybe we can get back with Dolores on writing. [laughs]
DG: Oh, yes. I'd love to do that show. Yeah. [laughs]
JG: Well, Dolores, I know the person to ask for that show is James Thomas at Pepperdine, who is a friend of ours...
DG: Oh, yeah.
JG: ...and he's writing right now on Casual Vacancy for a conference that's later... when we get to May, it will be later in May.
JR: Here's my question about Casual Vacancy: Is Casual Vacancy the equivalent of Doyle's The Coming of the Fairies, a book so embarrassing to the author...
JR: ...that fandom later forgets that the great author wrote it?
DG: Well, she wasn't embarrassed by it.
KM: I think if you stay with that book... it's so hard to read, but I think it's great when you put it all together. Anybody who would abandon the book as part of what she should be proud of, I think, is misdirected.
JR: Oh, good! I'd love to debate you on that because I think it's a book so awful...
JR: ...that it achieves new levels in simply triviality.
KM: Oh, wow. Wow.
JR: It's just a badly written, trite pile of excrement.
DG: Don't beat about the bush.
EK: John, you should tell us what you really think.
JR: Yeah, I know. I decided to beat around the bush.
JG: Ed, Ed, I know you want to be on that show too, Ed, as a peacemaker.
JG: You're the man who can walk these lines without talking about piles of excrement. [laughs] But Ed, what would you like us to talk about in the coming year?
EK: Well, you know, a couple of things have come to mind. Religion, of course, and in fact, it was interesting that I was thinking about Francis Bridger earlier and wondering: is he working on a revised edition of that book? There's also Colin Manlove who has a book that's either out or coming out. I have not yet had a chance to look at it.
JG:[unintelligible] It's out, it's out.
EK: It is? Okay. And then one other thing is I'm interested in the sort of moment in which fandom emerged. Because if you think about it, it was very, very interesting. The Internet was just developing in a really big way. An author was communicating with her fanbase while the series was being written. Fans were able to communicate instantaneously with each other while all of this was happening. I mean, it was just a really fascinating cultural moment. And I think it might be interesting to sort of revisit the emergence of fandom in the late '90s and the early 'aughts.
JG: Is there a... does anyone know an Internet technology culture expert that could talk about that? Because that is a great topic.
EK: Well, the one person who comes to mind, and he's not exclusively interested in Harry Potter, would be Jenkins.
AS: Henry Jenkins, yeah.
EK: Henry Jenkins, yes. Right. I almost said Keith Jenkins, who's a historian who does something entirely different. Yes, Henry Jenkins.
JG: Got it. I tell you, we're getting next year's schedule right here, Keith. I'm loving it! My goodness!
KH: I'll tell you a couple of shows that I'd like to have, is something on genetics and genealogy. I'd love to have one on mythology and the creatures, the fantastic beasts...
JG: You know that one's in the works. We've got that coming.
KH: I love a whole bunch of these shows, so we're going to have a great year.
KMC: If I could just chime in, I think we've mentioned Quidditch a few times and I think the books... so much of the books is focused on Quidditch. It has all these dynamics in it, and then of course you get people actually trying to play a game where they're supposed to fly in the air and there's got to be something interesting to say about that.
KH: I could have the Quidditch CEO, Alex Benepe, on the show, but I'm not sure how educational that would be. It would be more about sports. And I've got to tell you, I'm a Quidditch expert on it. I'd love... I'll be the expert on Quidditch.
JG: Hey! I love it!
LF: I have a couple of ideas.
JG: Go ahead!
JG and KH: Go ahead, Louise!
LF: Well, one, there's a relatively new area of psychology, the field of eco-psychology, talking about the importance of connection with the natural world. And I think we see a lot of that in Harry Potter, in terms of characters like Hagrid and Luna, and places like the Burrow and the Shell Cottage. They're so much a part of the natural world as opposed to other places of doom and gloom like the Ministry of Magic that's relatively isolated from that. So I think there's something about Harry Potter and the natural world, or Harry Potter and the environment, would be interesting. Also, a show I would love to hear is just Harry Potter and humor.
LF: So much of the book is just so funny and I don't know how many of you folks have seen the Potted Potter show that has been in New York, it's been on a couple of national tours, just this really funny two-man show talking about... summarizing all seven Harry Potter books in an hour and ten minutes. There's just so much of our modern concept of humor that is so prevalent in the book, and that might be a nice antidote to Casual Vacancy.
LF: To have a show where you laugh the whole time.
JG: I love it. I love it.
DG: I've got an idea for a show.
JG: Sure, Dolores.
DG: Yeah. The ethics of magic as opposed to the ethics of how we do science in the real world.
LF: Ooh, I like that.
JG: Do you have somebody in mind?
DG: Well, yet another daughter. [laughs]
JG: Ah! I love it.
DG: Yeah, my daughter, Lucy, does pharmacology and she's a red-hot Harry Potter fan. She was the first of all of us to fall in love with Harry Potter.
KH: I was just going to say, she was the first in the family.
DG: Yeah, and she's very, very strong on ethics. That's what she wants to do, ethical scientific journalism, when she graduates.
JG: I've got to say, I'd love that show, Dolores. It's going to happen. Here's a subject and a pundit - I think John Mark knows this guy and I think Amy does - the Reverend Michael Ward. I want to see if I can get him on the show to talk about the imaginitive relationship between The Chronicles of Narnia, especially their planetary imagery - what he calls [unintelligible] - and Harry Potter and the alchemy of the series.
AS: That would be brilliant.
JG: So anyway, that's my inspiration from this show and we're going to follow up on that, if we can. I'm going to close with that, Keith, and I want all the people that are listening to send in their recommendations for subjects and professors that they want us to have one. Wow, we've gone well over our hour probably, here, I'm pretty sure.
KH: Yeah. Several of our fans have sent in requests for shows, things of potions and scientific brewing of ingredients and things of that nature and some other ideas. So we definitely have another year's worth of shows, so don't worry, we will be coming back to you again very shortly. Lesson 20 is in the bag. Lesson 21, live at MISTI-Con, is right around the corner, so we look forward to being back on the air in two weeks with Janet Scott Batchler. Thank you all so much for coming on our one-year anniversary spectacular show. It has been just that - very spectacular. I can't thank you enough, you guys are wonderful.
[All]: Thank you!
JG: Thank you, all! All right. [laughs]
[Show music begins]
KH: Before we do our traditional sign-off on this show, I would like to thank you, the fans, for being so supportive over our first year of MuggleNet Academia. We hope that you enjoyed our one-year anniversary spectacular show. Thank you for joining us. From MuggleNet.com, my name is Keith Hawk.
JG: I'm John Granger, the Hogwarts Professor and author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures.
EK: I'm Ed Kern from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
JL: I'm Josée Leblanc. I'm a professional translator.
KM: Karen Morris, professor and judge.
DG: I'm Dolores Gordon-Smith, author of the Jack Haldean detective novels.
JH: I'm Joel Hunter, Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.
AS: I'm Amy H Sturgis, from Lenoir-Rhyne University and the Mythgard Institute.
JR: This is John Mark Reynolds, and I'm the author of Chasing Shadows: Back to Barterra.
LF: I'm Louise Freeman, Professor of Psychology at Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia.
KMC: I'm Katy McDaniel, Professor of History at Marietta College.
NR: I'm Nancy Reagin, History Professor at Pace University and editor of Harry Potter and History.
Certainly I knew, Minerva, but one does not parade the fact that one is All-Knowing. I frequently act as though I am not possessed of the Inner Eye, so as not make others nervous.
Trelawney Prisoner of Azkaban
Natalie McDonald, who appeared in Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire, was based on a real girl Rowling knew who was dying of leukemia. She wrote to JK Rowling asking what was going to happen in the next Harry Potter book as she would not live long enough to read it.