The Three Broomsticks Centenary
Just over ten years ago, I was given a MuggleNet column in which to write editorials on any Potter-related subjects that captured my imagination. In fall 2011, the Three Broomsticks opened its virtual doors as I entreated readers to “Grab a butterbeer, pull up a chair, and let’s talk Potter!”
It’s been a lot of butterbeers and a lot of talking since then. And now we have come to a once-unthinkable milestone: 100 editorials!
I believe the occasion calls for a nostalgic look back at those 100 essays. If you have been reading along for a decade, then I hope you too will enjoy reminiscing about how far we’ve come and perhaps even be tempted to revisit some older editorials… and if you’re newer to the Three Broomsticks, then this can serve as a helpful primer of the back catalog you’re invited to peruse.
So if you will indulge me, I will take you on a guided tour of the 100 essays at the Three Broomsticks by topic. If we are to extend the metaphor of this column being a pub where we gather to chat, think of these pages as the menu we provide. Are you in the mood for some character analysis? Want to think about some wizarding world minutiae? Or are you looking to engage with some Potter-adjacent works? Either way, there should be something to interest you in the coming four guides.
Guides to the Three Broomsticks
In “Regulars at the Pub,” you can explore the characters of the Potter books. This section contains the humble beginnings of my book on Albus Dumbledore, Dumbledore: The Life and Lies of Hogwarts’s Renowned Headmaster. But plenty of other characters have been the subject of analysis in the Three Broomsticks: Snape, Voldemort, the trio, Luna, and even some minor characters.
The rest of my analysis of the Potter books themselves is presented in “Workings of the Wizarding World and the ‘Harry Potter’ Books.” This page contains deep dives into how the wizarding world works – everything from the nitty-gritty of Felix Felicis to the topic of wizarding taxes is covered. This also examines the patterns and artistry of the Potter books themselves – from the foreshadowing in earlier books to the themes on display.
While the books serve as the bread and butter of this column, it’s a big wide wizarding world out there (and getting wider by the year). In “Beyond Harry,” I collected my essays on all the non-Potter content in this column. For instance, did you know that once upon a time I wrote about the Harry Potter movies? And from 2016 to 2018, I produced a lot of material on the Fantastic Beasts films before forsaking that corner of the fandom. This page also contains all my work on Jo’s non-Potter books, which has proven a rewarding topic throughout the years.
Lastly, there is a page for all my work about “The Community” that we are part of. What is canon? What are the macro trends of our fandom? What about the fandom controversies of any given day? Unlike the other essays, these are not ahistorical – but I believe them to be a valuable time capsule of our fandom throughout the 2010s. And considering how quaint some of these pieces must now seem – the epic scandal that was Warner Bros.’ DVD box set in 2012 – it offers perspective on how often the sky has fallen in our fandom and how we’re still here.
Hopefully, that backlist is enough to entertain until further editorials make all of this hopelessly outdated. To that point, in celebration of this centenary, I will strive to do something that’s never been done at the Three Broomsticks: regular updates! (Yes, this may be the most shocking statement to come out of my column in years!) Starting with the 100th essay, and for the rest of 2022 – or however long before I run out of steam – there will be monthly updates provided at the Three Broomsticks. They will usually be published on the third Thursday of every month unless new material (Ink Black Heart, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) calls for a different deadline.
And now that I’ve presented the menu, would you like to hear about our specials? These are the essays I think are worth highlighting out of the catalog for one reason or another.
If you’d like to know the history behind this column – how I’ve been a MuggleNet fanboy since 2003, and how this column came about – you can read all about it in Three Broomsticks (hereafter written as “TB”) #77: “MuggleNet and Me.”
To go all the way back to the beginning, before the last book was even released, you can look to 2007 and TB #1: “Harry Potter and the Seven Chakras.”
I’ve been known as the “controversial columnist” here for ages, and you’d be amazed at the unpopular positions I’d staked out to earn that moniker! I wrote daring things such as that the Harry Potter movies are bad adaptations and that Severus Snape is a bad person. Shock! Horror! But my most enduring hot take, which gets people as riled up today as it did a decade ago, is a denunciation of Hagrid in TB #19: “Dumbledore’s Giant Mistake.”
The grossest essays in my catalog – and yes, that is a category! – are the ones dealing with the creation of Babymort. So the award for Essay That Is Least Palatable After Lunch goes to TB #63: “Nagini and Voldemort’s Twisted Relationship.”
The most popular essay in this column was actually one addressing fandom: TB #60: “In Jo We Trust… Or Not.” It took a look at 2018’s inflection point in the relationship between Jo and her fans and really struck a chord with readers who were having a lot of feelings on the topic. The comment section on the essay is also glorious since our community had the kind of in-depth and respectful discussion that appears to be an endangered species on the Internet.
And the award for Best Discourse goes to TB #58: “Redrawing the Map of Wizarding Europe.” I cannot overstate how wonderful the comment section is on this essay – readers from all over the world are bringing their expertise in history and geopolitics to discuss what political borders look like in wizarding Europe. If I could point to just one web page to illustrate the best of what the Internet can achieve, it would be this – a glorious forum for the exchange of information.
That concludes our retrospective, and I present the entire hundred essays below for the ease of your perusal. This may all seem self-congratulatory – and okay, it is – but my favorite part of looking back on all these essays was the comments. Everything I write is always an invitation for further discussion, and I am overjoyed when it’s taken as such.
The readers of these essays have kept me honest over the years. You have corrected my mistakes (and there have been several), you asked questions that made me think, and you have offered up terrific analysis in your responses. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for coming to the Three Broomsticks over the years.
To that effect, I hope to hear from you. Which essays did you most enjoy? What topics interest you? Do you have any burning Harry Potter questions you’d like me to tackle? I’ve often written editorials in response to questions posed by readers. You can either leave a comment here or write to me at DarkLordofDance@gmail.com.
And so we now look forward to the next hundred essays. I have plenty I want to write about and am flooded with new ideas every time I reread the books. However, no essay lives unless someone wants to read, so whether you come back by a big screen or small, the Three Broomsticks will always be there to welcome you with a pint of butterbeer. So let me say for the 101st time: Grab a butterbeer, pull up a chair, and let’s talk Potter!