“Potterversity” Episode 49: “Playing Potter”

We’re in for a bit of fun as we look at games in the wizarding world and using games to bring the wizarding world to the classroom.



Katy and Emily are joined by two more contributors to our book, Potterversity: Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter. Laurie Beckoff, our producer, and Tison Pugh, Pegasus Professor of English at the University of Central Florida and author of Harry Potter and Beyond, both wrote chapters about games, with Laurie looking inside the series and back at medieval literature, and Tison looking outside the series at how to apply games in his Harry Potter course.

Both Laurie and Tison come from a medievalist background, so we discuss the connections between Harry Potter and the Middle Ages, particularly magic and quests. They also see games – such as tournaments, Quidditch, and chess – as playing a significant role in both medieval romance and Potter, especially when it comes to character development, moving the plot along, and revealing the values of a society, as Laurie discusses in her chapter, “It’s All Fun and Games Until…: Leisurely and Competitive Pursuits in ‘Harry Potter’ and Chivalric Romance.”

In Tison’s chapter, “Gamifying the ‘Harry Potter’ Studies Classroom,” he explains how he uses a House Cup tournament to engage his students, bringing team building and a bit of healthy competition into an educational environment. We look at performance in both chapters – how wizards and knights develop reputations and respond to their audiences as well as how Tison’s students take on the traits associated with their Houses – and how power structures come into play or can be subverted.

What would you like to hear more about from our podcast? We’d love to hear from you! Send us an email at PotterversityPodcast@gmail.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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.