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Showing posts from January, 2018

Essay: Female Archetypes in Harry Potter, Part I

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A prominent trio of female characters in the Harry Potter books—Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood—can be seen as the archetypes of the Maiden, Mother and Crone. But they aren’t the only characters that fit these archetypes. They are also not the only group of three characters who comprise a trio of the three female archetypes. This isn’t to suggest that this was the author’s intent; each reader can decide whether they think JK Rowling wanted us to see these archetypal trios, she did it unconsciously, or they crept into her work despite her best intentions. According to Joseph Campbell: Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known.... As [the hero]...progresses in the slow initiation which is life, the form of the goddess undergoes for him a series of transfigurations.... She lures, she guides, she bids him burst his fetters.  And if he can match her import, the two, the knower and the known, will be released from every limita…

Episode 15: Prisoner of Quidditch

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is shaped by Quidditch, but what games propel the plot at the beginning of the book? And why do students camp in the Great Hall when Sirius Black might be in the castle?

Episode 15: Prisoner of Quidditch

Watch the Episode 15 video on YouTube.

Related essay:

Playing the Game

EPISODE GUIDE

Essay: The Wise Old Man Archetype

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JK Rowling makes extensive use of doppelgangers in the Harry Potter books and Albus Dumbledore is one of Ron Weasley’s. They have many things in common and often play similar roles in Harry’s life. From the start Ron guides Harry into the wizarding world; he offers folk-wisdom, which is usually the role of an older member of the community: the Wise Old Man. In the first book, when Harry is on the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore is invoked when Harry finds his Famous Wizard Card in a Chocolate Frog package. In Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, there’s a passage that is perfect to apply to the Harry Potter series. Campbell writes about: ...the Wise Old Man of the myths and fairy tales whose words assist the hero through the trials and terrors of the weird adventures. He is the one who appears and points to the magic shining sword that will kill the dragon-terror...applies healing balm to the almost-fatal wounds, and finally dismisses the conqueror, back into...the world...[Jo…

Essay: The Game Pieces

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Quantum Harry: A Unified Theory of the Potterverse, is divided into three sections of seven chapters each. I have dedicated Part I to examining JK Rowling’s archetypes in the Harry Potter books, her “game pieces”. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of the “archetype”, it’s a way of talking about character attributes in stories that transcends the story. For instance, you can say that in certain Native American myths the raven is a Trickster Archetype, and in certain Italian fairy tales the devil, a popular character in many Italian folk tales, is also an archetypal Trickster. This means that their characters fill a similar role, they fill the same need in the story and may behave in similar ways and have similar attributes. But despite one of those Trickster characters being literally The Devil, calling a character an archetypal Trickster isn’t a judgment; archetypal labels don’t have “good” or “evil” baggage attached to them. Within an archetype a character might be a “go…

Episode 14: The Devil's Game

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How is Devil's Snare linked to the Chamber of Secrets? Why does the Flying Ford Anglia rescue Harry and Ron from the spiders? And why does Harry hear the Basilisk just after the Deathday Party?

Episode 14: The Devil's Game

Watch the Episode 14 video on YouTube.

Related essay:

The Devil You Know

EPISODE GUIDE

Essay: Childish Things

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Some people dismiss the Harry Potter books as frivolous for the same reason Goliath disregarded David: they believe that children and anything for children are inconsequential. (See previous blog post: A Unified Theory of the Potterverse.) How could anything deep or wise come from a kids’ book? JK Rowling depicts people with this view in a poor light in the Harry Potter series, which is like a manifesto of the value of childhood and children, toys and games and fairy tales. Dumbledore values all of these things, and uses sweets as passwords for his office. In his will, he leaves Harry, Ron and Hermione a game piece, a toy and a book of fairy tales, and he values the legacy of his Chocolate Frog Card—which comes with a sweet and is used for games—above all other recognition he has received. The same issue of people dismissing children and things connected to childhood arises in our culture every day. The 1991 Disney film Beauty and the Beast was the first and for 17 years only animated…

Quantum Harry: The Episode Guide

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This episode guide provides links to the blog posts for each episode (where the links to the mp3 files are) plus helpful information about which Harry Potter book is linked to each episode. To see the episodes arranged according to which book in the series goes with which podcast episode, go to Quantum Harry: By the Book.

To discuss Quantum Harry episodes and other general Harry Potter topics, join the discussion group!

Episode 1: The Kids' Table  - What three words can sum up the Harry Potter series? What do Voldemort, the Dursleys, and Dolores Umbridge have in common with The New York Times, the Academy Awards, and a children's book publisher? (20 minutes) Watch/listen on YouTube or read the relatedessays.

YouTube Playlist of all the video episodes, in order.


PART I: THE ARCHETYPE EPISODES
The Archetype Episodes examine the archetype “ruling” each of the seven books in the Harry Potter series. In each book there is a character who best embodies the ruling archetype (JK Rowling’s …