Thursday, June 29

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, June 29, 2017 10 comments
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (know in the US as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone because publishers assume American readers are too dumb to pick up anything with philosopher in the title, or know anything about medieval history or alchemy...but I digress).

Dumbledore's costume, WB studio tour, London (my photo)
I was first introduced to the series shortly after the first two books became available through Scholastic in the US. A reading specialist in my book group felt we just had to give them a try. She reads heaps of kidlit and knew these books were something special, bringing together tropes from fantasy, mythology, coming of age, and boarding school stories. They're fun and smart and got reluctant readers willing to work through their reading struggles to find out what happens next.

Having my husband read the series aloud to me, so we could enjoy the books together, became one of the defining bonding experiences of my early married years. He has gone on to develop college courses that suss out philosophical themes in the books, and has given a number of conference talks and published books chapters on epistemology and ethics in Rowling's work.

My contribution to Harry Potter fandom has been largely connected with this blog. I've participated in some blog hops, did a series of thematic character analyses, and eventually spun off a short-lived online fan 'zine.

So for your enjoyment, I offer links to my many Harry Potter-themed offerings.

Literary analyses

The Slow Growing Hero (Neville Longbottom)
What Makes a Villain? Part 1: The Dursleys and Malfoys
What Makes a Villain? Part 2: Umbridge and Voldemort
What Makes a Villain? Part 3: A Hero in Villain's Clothing (Severus Snape)

Thestral Gazette

I created this fan-fiction "underground newspaper" with a team, to provide muckraker-style "yellow journalism" pieces about "hidden Hogwarts revealed by those in the know." Pieces are cross-posted HERE.

Mrs. Norris's Secret Identity Revealed
Gilderoy Lockhart's Exciting New Book Release!
Snape's Secret Admirer
Fast, Loose, and Aria-Belting: Professors After Hours
Viktor Krum Reuintes with Former Girlfriend
Discovery: Mer-mating
Umbridge Unmasked
Ask Abby Gabby: Advice for Wizards and Witches (first feature)
Advice for Wizards and Witches (second feature)
Being Bullied? Weasel Your Way Out
Elves Gone Wild
Cauldron Chatter: Cloaked Items (gossip column)
Special Report from Hogwarts Florida Campus

Blog Hop posts

The Benefit of Books First (guest post by the hubs)
Wrock on! About the fandom creation "wizard rock"
Quidditch anyone? About collegiate "muggle quidditch" teams
Spinning New Yarns: Fan Fiction and Fan Art
Ravenclaw Heaven: Harry Potter meets Academia
Who Would Be Your Mates? Create a friend trio with two Hogwarts students


Harry Potter themed party ideas part I and part II
My photos from the Harry Potter WB Studio Tour near London and Hogwarts meme

And for fun, a quick list of my favorites:

Book in series: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Film: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Male character: Neville Longbottom
Female character: Hermione Granger
Professor: Remus Lupin
Scene: Escape from Gringott's in Deathly Hallows
Spell: Accio (summoning spell)
Method of transit: aparation
Magical creature: House elves
Magical event: Yule Ball

How long have you been a Harry Potter fan? What are your favorites from the list above?


  1. Hi Laurel - you have certainly become immersed in Harry Potter - I'm afraid I admire him (JK) but am not addicted! Though it looks like you and your husband have been able to utilise the stories so well ... very clever - cheers Hilary

    1. He knows the books better than I do, since he's taught Harry Potter and Philosophy three times, and is teaching an interdisciplinary honors Harry Potter class this fall. I kind of wish I could audit. I bet it's fun!

  2. Hi, Laurel...

    Since 2001.... I will never forget seeing the first movie directly after my father's funeral. It was a very sad and stressful time for me and for two and a half MAGICAL hours I was hooked, and it was surely the escape I needed.

    1. Harry provides both a wonderful escape, but also stories that help you learn coping skills, I think. That he deals with ongoing loss and grief is core to who Harry is, and it makes him kinder than many of his peers. I would think Harry would feel like a kindred spirit as you processed losing a parent.

  3. HP was an over arching presence in many lives throughout the 2000's. I am not an addict, but have read the books and watched the films multiple times - greatly enjoyable :)

    1. The series became quite a shaping cultural force, using fantasy to address pressing issues of the day--for instance the rise of neo-fascism/hyper-nationalism.

  4. Love it! The world can never have enough Harry Potter!

    1. Thanks, Jemi. I feel like I ought to do some more analysis posts. They helped me process hunches and were a lot of fun to write.

  5. Deathly Hallows is my go-to movie, both 1 and 2. Their escape from Gringotts is one of my favorite scenes as well. And I always tune in for the Harry Potter weekends (as if I don't have all the dvds, lol.) I'll also turn it on as background while I'm writing. Sometimes I tune in to the soundtracks on Pandora to listen to while I'm writing too. Yep, I'm a Potterhead.

    1. The soundtracks are really fun and must make great writing background tunes. If you haven't heard the Escape from Gringott's scene read aloud, you need to. I think it is Rowling's best writing of the entire series.

      I liked DH part I better than part II, in part because the Hollywood-izing of the duel with Voldemort was so untrue to the spirit of the book--that V has no power over Harry now. Rowling knew what she was doing, and I hated it when screenwriters second-guessed plot points. Goblet of Fire's film adaptation is the best example of missing Rowling's thematic and plot drive entirely.