Tag Archives: The Casual Vacancy

Around the Common Room: December 7, 2012

In the cheerful spirit of Happy Hoggy Days, here’s a gift many a Harry Potter fan should enjoy: a Harry Potter and Philosophy podcast put together by Keith Hawk at MuggleNet, starring our own Carrie-Ann Biondi and two of her students! Says Carrie-Ann:

It’s kind of a survey-ish discussion among the five of us ranging over a variety of questions and issues in philosophy and literature that John Granger came up with, so it’s very accessible to a wide audience.

Listen and enjoy! And now, here’s your roundup of the week’s news:

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Around the Common Room: November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all American Pub members!

The big news story of the week is Utah paper boy Jaxon Gessel’s getting chased one dark morn

ing by a goat named Voldemort. Now dubbed “The Boy Who Lived” by the goat’s owners, and less flattering names by his school peers, Gessel seems to have taken the event philosophically and with a fair degree of bravery as well, preventing other passers-by from likewise getting treed. After all, whatever Aberforth might say, a male goat can be an odd and rather frightening creature, especially in the dark.

In more serious discussion, Fantasy Faction’s Ryan Howse suggests a moratorium on Campbell’s monomyth. He criticizes it on several principles, from its influence on definitions to its overall masculinity. “Campbell’s monomyth is important to know,” he says, “but as writers we need to be willing to push against its boundaries and break it. We need to criticize it with a thousand cuts and let it lie fallow in the earth.” Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss.

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Rowling on the Adult Content in ‘The Casual Vacancy’

According to buy viagra online pharmacy(direct)%7Cutmccn=(direct)%7Cutmcmd=(none)&__utmv=14933801.%7C8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7Ccover=1%5E12=Landing%20Content=Mixed=1%5E13=Landing%20Hostname=www.nbcnews.com=1%5E30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20Mixed=1&__utmk=178942244″>an article by Christine Kearney, Rowling says the difference between her adult book and the other adult book wildly popular at present–E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey–is that “people have sex in this book but no one really enjoys it”.

Rowling also comments on the age at which young people should be allowed to read The Casual Vacancy, the experience of discovering a child in an audience she was reading to, and the best ways for parents to manage their children’s reading of more troubling works.

Head over and check it out! Feel free to comment on her thoughts below.

J.K. Rowling on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

J.K. Rowling was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past Monday where she discussed her new novel, The Casual Vacancy as well as, very inevitable in any interview with her, a certain other series she wrote. Here are the links to the two parts:

Exclusive – J.K. Rowling Extended Interview Pt. 1

Exclusive – J.K. Rowling Extended Interview Pt. 2

Around the Common Room: October 12, 2012

The Hog’s Head isn’t the only site pulling out the Halloween props–ghosts, spooks and goblins are all over the web! To begin, you may want to get your Potter-themed costume from OfficialHarryP

otterCostumes.com. Though making your own is always a perfectly good choice, too.

On Blu-Ray this fall: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection, which includes such famed monsters as The Phantom of the Opera, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy.

Definitely frightening: a pie chart of Voldemort’s soul, describing what percentage is in which Horcrux (assuming a 50/50 split every time).

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Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” Released Today

It’s official: Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy can be picked up from your local bookstore or downloaded onto your ereader! If you beat Travis to finishing the book, feel free to express your thoughts below.

To tide you over till our Chief Warlock of the Blogengamot can post, here are a few more reviews: Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times claims that “There is no magic in this book–in terms of wizarding or in terms of narrative sorcery” (thanks to commenter Charlie for the news), but Theo Tait over at The Guardian points out that the book “…is no masterpiece, but it’s not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny.”

Alison Pearson at The Telegraph is concerned about young readers:

When an interviewer from The New Yorker put it to Rowling that there might be strong objections to the idea of young Harry Potter readers being drawn into such material she replied coolly: “There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher… I’m a writer and I will write what I want to write.”

If you have sold 450 million books, mainly to children, and you have achieved a net worth of £560 million, often from the pocket and birthday money of children, then you may not consider yourself to be their babysitter, or their teacher, but you were certainly their bedtime reading, and they will be helplessly drawn back to your voice. For my kids, and for a billion others, Rowling is a household goddess, the teller of a tale that not only spanned but defined their childhoods.

Meanwhile, Rob Brunner at Entertainment Weekly, though admitting the novel falls apart at the end, claims that:

Rowling does a nice job laying out her 20-plus characters’ endless pretensions and weaknesses, which she punctures with gleeful flicks of a surprisingly sharp comic blade.

In related news, if you can come up with the millions (and they’d better not be leprechaun gold), you can buy Rowling’s old home in Edinburgh. I’m guessing that most of us don’t have access to that many Galleons, but we can all look at the beautiful pictures of the place. It’s quite lovely. Thanks to R. Ross for the link.

Rowling News and Interviews

Time to gather some of the latest leading pieces about Rowling, most of them surrounding the release of her new novel, The Casual Vacancy. If I missed anything, do link it in the comments!

Alongside Ian Parker’s NYT piece, linked here a couple of days ago, Rowling gave out two other major interviews with advance review copies. The first was with Decca Aitkenhead from The Guardian; Ms. Aitkenhead is clearly more of a fan than Mr. Parker, and wrote an enthusiastic piece. The other was with Carol Memmott of USA Today, and it’s also an enjoyable read; more restrained reporting than the other two, less editorial commentary.

Other reviews are starting to surface. The Associated Press has one which has landed on several news sites. Christopher Brookmyre of The Telegraph suggests British Conservative party leader David Cameron ought to avoid the book “as he is unlikely to enjoy seeing his notion of the “Big Society” being so savagely eviscerated.” Sherryl Connelly at the New York Daily News said it “…isn’t dreadful. It’s just dull” and complained of apparently intense amounts of sex and profanity.

As Rowling’s current news doesn’t get mention without reference to the Potter legacy, MSNBC has picked up on a comment suggesting Rowling may write more books set in the Wizarding World. And Blastr’s Nathalie Caron notes Rowling’s suggestion that she’d like to do a ‘director’s cut’ edit on a couple of the books.

Happy reading!

Mr. Pond on The Casual Vacancy Tonight

For those of you who’ve been hoping for more discussion of J. K. Rowling’s new book, you’re in luck!  The Hog’s Head’s very own Mr. Pond (a.k.a. John Patrick Pazdziora) will be appearing tonight as a participant in a round-table discussion on The Casual Vacancy for STV.  It’ll show on Scotland Tonight and be broadcast at 22:30 BST (London time), viewable online at the time and probably for a while after.  Here is a link to STV’s online t.v. guide.

So tune in, turn it up, and leave your comments and questions here!