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.
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).
The next article in the June 2012 Harry Potter and Philosophy collection is “House-Elves, Hogwarts, and Friendship: Casting Away the Institutions which Made Voldemort’s Rise Possible,” written by Susan Peppers-Bates and Joshua Rust (both philosophy professors at Stetson University, FL).
This essay begins the collection’s journey toward an exploration of some of the darker themes present in the Harry Potter series (though with the ray of hope that is friendship!). For an abstract of their article, please read below the jump. As always, questions and comments on the full article and its topic are welcome in the comments box below.
Today being the 75th anniversary of the release of The Hobbit, and tomorrow being Hobbit Day, you’ll want to have Second Breakfast–and there’s a site dedicated to helping you do just that at 11 AM today. (Reading this a few hours late? It’s eleven o’clock somewhere. Go for it!)
If you’re hosting, you might want to check out Jana Riess’ delightful piece titled “Everything I Needed to Know about Hospitality, I Learned from Molly Weasley.” The rest of us will want to check it out just because it’s about Molly Weasley; who could stand to miss an article on every wizard and witch’s favorite mum?
Once you’ve read about Mrs. Weasley, if you’re hungry for more posts on Potter, you might try yours truly’s little “Harry Potter and the Writer of Fairy Tales,” guest posted over at the lovely fairy tale blog Spinning Straw into Gold.
And one more for the Harry Potter department: a little Voldy humor.
In other news:
The Olympics have been on everyone’s mind and television these last couple of weeks, and apparently a giant Voldemort waged war against Mary Popp
inses (yes, plural) during the opening ceremonies. Between J.K. Rowling reading Peter Pan and Rupert Grint carrying the torch, our Harry didn’t have to show up himself to get good representation in his home country. It sounds like children’s literature in general got fair play in Danny Boyle’s opening ceremonies.
I wouldn’t know, because I don’t have a TV and can’t be bothered to look it all up on the Internet. What I can be bothered to do is come up with a bunch of Potter- and other fiction-related links for an Around the Common Room post (credit where credit’s due: the Blogengamot helped!) Here it is.
First–and this one is so important that multiple people sent it to me–NPR has finally announced its voter-chosen “100 Best-Ever Teen Novels.” Guess who’s number one? Number two is not much less surprising, nor is number three. Twilight hit the list at number 27, and I’m pleased because Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl made the cut (at #80; superb fairy tale retelling, and I voted for it myself).
Upon the list’s release, the Internet took note: female authors may struggle in every other genre, but they write a fair percentage of the favorites in YA. Middle-grade author Nathan Bransford asks, in a positive way, why.
Meanwhile, in fantasy and science fiction:
The third essay in the Imagining Better: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter collection, is “buy viagra in uk href=”http://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/341/rp_341_3.pdf”>Harry Potter and Humanity: Choices, Love, and Death,” by Shawn Klein, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rockford College, PA. (He’s also a co-editor of Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts.)
After discussing the central role played by choice, which is best captured in Dumbledore’s famous quotation that it is “our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” (CoS p. 333), Prof. Klein explores how Harry’s humanity is best shown in his recognition of his mortality. Harry’s acceptance of his mortality enables him to love and to be a whole person; having a limited life span allows one to realize just how precious and valuable life is. On the other hand, it is Voldemort’s rejection of mortality that undermines his ability to love–either others or himself.
(Coming soon: A guest post by Prof. Joel Hunter on his essay about the Mirror of Erised and existentialism.)
As we rapidly approach the release of Deathly Hallows 2, I thought we’d look at two of the horcruxes we haven’t really seen before and of which we only had very spotty information, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem and Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. Both of these, if the film writers are doing their jobs, should be present in the upcoming movie.
In Half-Blood Prince we’re of course introduced to the idea and nature of horcruxes and to the fact that Voldemort likes to use as much as possible relics from the Hogwarts founders as receptacles for his soul fragments. We’re given pretty good explanations of the two Slytherin relics, the Peverell ring & the locket. We, through Dumbledore, are also pretty sure that Hufflepuff’s cup is also one of the horcruxes as seen by Voldemort’s interactions with and eventual murder of Hepzibah Smith.
Saw this NPR story the other day on a friend’s Facebook page. It deals with the reactions of college students to the death of Osama Bin Laden. I found this comment to be interesting:
” So I grew up under the specter of Osama bin Laden as the boogeyman. He was our Lord Vuldemort [sic], if you will, like in Harry Potter, you know. He was pretty much the face of evil.”
This tied in with what my friend and I talked about when I contacted him for the link to the NPR story. How the story of Bin Laden and the 9/11 terror attacks has been paralleled by the story of Harry Potter and the fight against Voldemort. Two months after 9/11 the first Harry Potter film adaptation was released. Now in 2011, Osama Bin Laden is dead and a few months from now the last installment in the films will come out with Voldemort’s death.