Meet the Hosts of MuggleNet’s Newest Podcast, “Reading, Writing, Rowling”
What do a former roller coaster operator and an early British novel fan have in common? Well, they are both hosts of MuggleNet’s newest podcast, Reading, Writing, Rowling.
John Granger has worked many odd jobs throughout the years, one being a roller coaster operator at Dorney Park. He now goes by the “Hogwarts Professor,” having published many books that dive deep into the scholarship of Harry Potter.
Katy McDaniel is a Potter scholar in her own right, teaching a course on the series at Marietta College, where she works as a history professor.
Granger and McDaniel met many years ago at a C.S. Lewis conference, where they found themselves part of a little group of Harry Potter fans who just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to pick each other’s brains about the series that had yet to wrap up at that point. “I remember he and I and a little band of Harry Potter people sitting down and talking about the books in great detail and what they meant to us,” remembers McDaniel.
Since then, both have delved deeper into Rowling’s work, studying it as academics, but spurred on as fans. “All academics geek out about the subjects they study,” says McDaniel. “I’ve never met a top scholar who wasn’t also a fan of some sort when it came to their object of study.”
McDaniel was introduced to the books by her aunt, who knew they would be right up her alley.
I was hooked!
For Granger, it was a shared experience with his seven kids, who grew up in the height of Pottermania. “I read the books aloud to my children, then to myself, then listened to the Jim Dale versions,” says Granger. He couldn’t get enough.
It was the stories that hooked them and the characters that drew them in, but it was all the detail and what lay under the surface that kept both McDaniel and Granger coming back for more. “I don’t think we’re ever going to run out of things to say about these books and this world, which is why the books are clearly already classics,” says McDaniel.
When the idea of podcasting together came up, Granger says it was a no-brainer. “Katy is both a top-tier Potter pundit and the most gracious of hosts in this kind of conversation.” These are conversations in which McDaniel says she always learns something new “from both special guests and fans.” Reading, Writing, Rowling is an academic podcast, but one that, at its root, is really all about the fans. “We’re hoping to keep the conversation flowing in all directions to stimulate a vibrant fan community focused on J.K. Rowling’s artistry and influence and her work’s impact on our lives and culture,” says McDaniel.
You can listen to the first two episodes below, and the show is also available for download on iTunes.