[This is the fourth essay in a series on numerology in the Harry Potter books. The previous essay — “Harry Potter Numerology: Three (Stability)” — was published on September 4, 2012.]
Last time we looked at how the Number Three in the Harry Potter series represents Stability. The Number Four, then, represents… you guessed it: Instability. And here Rowling does more than adopt ancient interpretations of a significant number; she adds her own twist to the underlying meaning of Four.
Throughout the ancient world, many cultures — including the Pythagoreans, Mayans, Etruscans and Chinese — believed that Four represented the natural order of the physical world. There are the four seasons, four directions, four elements, four bodily humors, the four winds, etc. (Schimmel 86-90). It is the first number with which one can describe three-dimensional space: the pyramid can be plotted with only four points. And to psychologist Carl Jung, four seemed “to be an ideal symbol of the ordering” of the world (Schimmel 104). Continue reading
Before we dive too deeply into the Potter, fantasy, sci-fi, and other geek links of the week, don’t forget to watch for Doctor Who posts from Travis, or to comment on Kris’ series on numerology! I’m headed for Three myself after I get this post up.
In all things Potter:
[This is the third essay in a series on numerology in the Harry Potter books. The previous essay — “Harry Potter Numerology: Two (Contraries)” — was published on August 27, 2012.]
If the Numbers One and Two represent thesis and antithesis, then the Number Three is synthesis. Ancient and medieval scholars saw the universe littered with significant threes: the Christian Trinity, the three Nordic worlds (Asgard, Midgard and Niflheim), the Greek sky-earth-netherworld, and many more. Great triads of deities appear in religions from ancient Greece, Northern Europe, the Etruscans, Egyptians and Japanese Mahayana Buddhists, to name a few. Medieval teacher Albertus Magnus “claimed that 3 is in all things and signifies the trinity of natural phenomena” (Schimmel 59).
In the Harry Potter series, triads abound. Continue reading
The Hunger Games is still big news, and while not nearly all of our links are related to that story, we’ve got a cluster of them. First, in serious thought: Brian Green, by way of Fr. Robert Barron, commented on the stories with the aid of a little Rene Girard theology. Also, the New York Times recently held a discussion on the idea of Katniss as radical female hero and woman warrior.
In the lighter forms of news, Katniss makes Tor’s Top Ten Favorite Fictional Archers, sharing notoriety with Robin Hood, Cupid, and Legolas, among others. Also, the tale is inspiring baby name trends; Katniss, Rue and Primrose are all pretty enough (if a little… well, unique to that story) to reasonably achieve some popularity. But Cato–really? He must have come off a lot better in the movie than the book.
On the theme of games–any games–Yahoo’s Unplugged blog has Fiction’s Most Famous Games, and How to Play Them for Real. Quidditch makes the list. So does Pooh-sticks, of course.
Yes. Maybe. Sometime down the road. But Rowling’s apparently working on it. When it might come out, who knows? She believes it will be a time consuming job. But when it’s done all the royalties will go to charity. Some of the material is already being used on Pottermore, but it definitely sounds like some day there will be an actual encyclopedia. I know the possibility has been bandied about before, but this is the first time I can remember, at least, of her actually coming out and saying she is working on it.
The article also discusses the possibility of new Potter books. While Rowling hasn’t ruled out ever writing another Harry Potter again, she doesn’t have any immediate plans and thinks she rounded off the series very nicely. Plus, any Potter books might be contingent on how well her new novel does and whether she continues to direct a lot of energy towards projects of that nature.
My personal opinion is, skip the encyclopedia, Ms. Rowling, and if you have information you really want to get out to us, do it in the form of stories. Short stories, novellas, whatever. Write your own fan fiction, except official like and all. 🙂 What are your thoughts on the whole matter?
You’ve heard it before, but this time it’s apparently true. Pottermore is open to the public! Of course, you can’t get in all at once. You can now sign up and they will gradually bring in more people. So there may be a delay between when you sign up and when they send you the notice you’re finally in. But once that happens, you’re in! You’ll get to experience all the fun that is Pottermore! What that fun is, well, I suppose it depends on your tastes. They make promises of new content and fun things to do. So far the most fun I’ve had was getting my wand and being sorted into a House (Ravenclaw, BTW!) Of course I did this all months ago since I was in the beta trial and I haven’t been on Pottermore very much since. But as I said, tastes differ.
Let us know if you plan to sign up. If you aren’t planning, let us know why. If you do sign up, let us know what your wand and House end up being. Have fun!!
In conjunction with title and release date news for her new book, J.K. Rowling’s newly-remade website has gone live!
Like the old Potter-themed one, it’s a little Flashy; not quite so heavily animated, but still possessing motion and the need for a lot of user clicks and scrolling. The timeline is an interesting feature, likely to draw both praise and criticism, but there’s a fair bit of information on it. The days of the W.O.M.B.A.T. look to have passed away; we’ll see whether anything else comes into play around the release of A Casual Vacancy.
What do you think?