The Power of Belief: A History of Magic!

Sam, My visit to A History of Magic at the New York City Historical Society was more than I could have hoped for. I never expected to see everything that was listed in the book which accompanied the exhibit’s premier at the British Library, London. The whole exhibition is like an out-of-body experience. Because it exceeds…

Timing is a B*tch

Sam, I would say there are two kinds of writers: those who detail their woes without being asked and those who wait to be asked by others. I’m not going to say which one is better or worse. However, I cannot ignore when Stephen King once called writers “the secret agents” of the world. We…

Like It’s the First Time

Sam, Is it possible to read the same book, watch the same movie, do the same action repeatedly without getting bored with it? If the answer could ever be no, then those of us who comb the content of the stories we love with more scrutiny than our own history books are in trouble. It’s…

The Authority of Canon

Sam, What decides the canon of story? Does it matter which comes first? Which should hold more weight, book or film? Discerning canon is an important aspect of literary scholarship because the authority of canon decides which stories we will keep telling long after their authors have returned to the dirt. After all, myths have…

A Spark in the Dark

Sam, I wanted to take a moment to recognize a small success in my writing career, a career that–until yesterday–I had nothing substantial to show for. I have been accepted to attend the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference: May 17-20, 2018! This comes as a supremely welcome surprise. The piece I submitted was ten pages…

When You’re Fan and Creator

Sam, Years ago, I wrote a reaction to attending A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Orlando. Click here in case you missed it. In that article I spoke about living in the shadow of giants–the great names of our field–and how we can navigate to get our share of the light. Now I wish…

Degrees of Exclusion in ‘Chamber of Secrets’

Sam, J. K. Rowling uses the Harry Potter series as a lens to address many societal issues. Among them, there’s the role of sports at school between Harry and Snape, the liberty an institution has with educating youth between Hogwarts and Fudge’s Ministry, and how disease is treated in the magical community (think werewolves). One that becomes…

The First Spell: ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ Part II

Sam, In ‘The First Spell: Philosopher’s Stone Part I’, I discussed the expertise of the Scholastic’s layout job, and how Jo begins her story on a plane we (as uninitiated Muggles) can understand. She then gradually transfers our interest – our support – for characters from the Dursleys very quickly to their severely oppressed nephew, Harry….

The First Spell: ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ Part I

Sam, While researching for the first post of this Perusing Potter series, I read up on the rankings of each of the Potter books. What I found was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was received as the weakest (at the bottom three) in a majority of the lists. There were reasons of “most childish,” “simplest plot,” and “fairly predictable.” Despite…

A Prelude to Evil in ‘Half-Blood Prince’

Sam, The Tom Riddle narrative is presented in kernels in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, leaving significant portions of Voldemort’s life to the imagination. This is a perfect storm for J. K. Rowling to write a spin-off book (fingers crossed for plural) and elaborate on the events that twisted young Tom into a Dark…