“Potterversity” Episode 46: “Ancient Magic”

The next topic up for discussion from our book, Potterversity: Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter, is old magic steeped in myth and tradition.



Katy talks with co-host and co-editor Emily Strand and contributor Lana Whited (Ferrum College) about their chapters “The Real Magic of Christmas in ‘Harry Potter'” and “Here Be Dragons and Phoenixes: A Thematic Direction for the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Series.” Emily looks at the theological roots of magic and Christmas as a time for darkness turning to light – and thus an appropriate season for Harry to have significant experiences where he learns new information, often about the past. Lana discusses the origins of magical creatures in Asian mythology that hold deep significance in both Crimes of Grindelwald and Secrets of Dumbledore, which explore the past through prophecy and family history.

The wizarding world has a sense of being frozen in time, and journeys into magical worlds often feel like journeys into the past. Part of that is the lack of modern Muggle technology that comes from moving not only into the past but also into nature, which is especially prominent with a Magizoologist as the protagonist of the Fantastic Beasts series. Christmas and creatures hold longstanding traditional connotations – ideas of rebirth and resurrection, enchantment and mystery – that come to the forefront when they are mentioned in these stories.

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Laurie Beckoff

My Harry Potter journey began in 2000 when I was six and continued through a bachelor's thesis and master's dissertation on medievalism in the series. I'm a Gryffindor from New York City with a passion for theatre, fantasy, Arthurian legend, and science fiction.