Around the Common Room, October 2, 2011

A few things of note:

First, Pottermore has pushed back its opening date to the end of October. The delay can be expected to frustrate millions of fans worldwide; however, speaking as one of the beta testers, in my opinion they had no choice. Whatever they planned the servers to be able to handle, beta testing spent all of last week oversetting it in a major way. I can report, however, that last time I logged on, the site ran decidedly more smoothly than I had ever seen it. There is hope.

Perhaps harder for hopeful ebook readers to take, the Shop does not plan to open till the first half of 2012. The only consolation these readers have is that after years of hard-copy only, at least the ebooks have been promised.

In other points of interest:

For the writers among us, writer and Potter essayist S.P. Sipal has taken it upon herself to analyze the Harry Potter series in terms of how to write a great story. Visit Harry Potter for Writers to study Rowling’s masterwork and consider how her principles might help your own work.

For those of us who still sometimes find ourselves explaining Why Harry Potter Isn’t Of the Devil now and again, speculative fiction author John C. Wright has three essays discussing fantasy literature, the occult, and the Christian. They’re long, but I don’t regret a moment I spent on them. Consider:

So, I submit that Christians can set stories in make-believe universes that operate under the rules of pre-Christian theology for the same reason science fiction writers can set stories in make believe universes with time travel or faster than light drive or mind reading: not that we think these things are literally true, and not because we are trying to promote a belief in them…
We can do it because Christianity is a complete system, that encompasses the universe, including the pre-Christian or pagan universe, and Christianity fulfills and completes and brings to flower what these pagan world views only hint at. We can write a story set in a pagan background, which praises the pagan virtues of justice, prudence, moderation and fortitude, because these four cardinal virtues are part of and have been incorporated into the seven virtues taught by the Church.

And the links:

For anyone interested in considering the effects making a movie out of a book has upon the imagination, here’s one artist’s brief and poignant ode to his own mental pictures of The Lord of the Rings.

And lastly, for randomness: a Mythological Unicycle.

8 thoughts on “Around the Common Room, October 2, 2011

  1. I saw this coming with Pottermore as the last days of September were dwindling away with serious issues on the site. I believe though they made a strong error with the big hype campaign. One rule in, well just about anything, is that you don’t make promises you can’t keep. They should not have commenced the hype/marketing campaign–a very clever one btw–until they were 100% certain it was a go.

  2. ProfessorL – I can understand your frustration. But I actually am right now feeling so sorry for the software engineers working on Pottermore.

    Engineers, be they software, mechanical or electrical (like my brother) have had ridiculous deadlines placed on their heads by people who don’t understand how long something actually takes to do well. Especially now in this economy. They’ve probably got 30 or 40 engineers working 18 hour days, 7 days a week trying to fix all the problems associated with Pottermore. Management at Engineering firms push the limit with their engineers for profit. Which is part of capitalism – but there simply is a physical limit as to how much one can accomplish in one day. And Marketing departments are notorious for pushing up deadlines and simply not understanding how much brain power and hard work is involved with engineering a site like this. And with this economy – firms have cut the amount of engineers working on a project so engineers are now doing the work of two or three engineers. And it’s the engineers who get scapegoated for this.

    Engineering firms are like super brain powered, highly paid sweat shops nowadays. I feel sorry for engineers and I wish people would cut them a little slack. Pottermore has huge volume and is uncharted waters for software and engineering. When it finally gets running smoothly – it will be a major accomplishment for its complexity.

  3. Thank you for your point. My comments were directed to TPTB. I was not directing my comments to the web engineers. I apologize that I was not more explicit about that.

  4. We had such a great time being part of the live Pubcast tonight! It was a real thrill being involved and getting to talk with such great people. Can’t wait for next week!!

Leave a Reply