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Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter

“I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough”*…

 

“You’re a wizard, Harry,” Hagrid said. “And you’re coming to Hogwarts.”

“What’s Hogwarts?” Harry asked.

“It’s wizard school.”

“It’s not a public school, is it?”

“No, it’s privately run.”

“Good. Then I accept. Children are not the property of the state; everyone who wishes to do so has the right to offer educational goods or services at a fair market rate. Let us leave at once.”

An excerpt from the gloriously spot-on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Objectivism; more at “Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.”

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

– John Rogers

* Christopher Hitchens

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As we obviate Objectivism, we might spare a thought for José de Sousa Saramago; he died on this date in 2010.  A Portuguese author and Nobel Laureate, he was described (in 2003) by Harold Bloom as “the most gifted novelist alive in the world today.”

An atheist and proponent of libertarian communism, Saramago was criticized by institutions the likes of the Catholic Church, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, with whom he disagreed. In 1992, the Government of Portugal ordered the removal of his The Gospel According to Jesus Christ from the Aristeion Prize‘s shortlist, claiming the work was religiously offensive. Disheartened by this political censorship of his work, Saramago went into exile on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, where he lived until his death.

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Written by LW

June 18, 2017 at 1:01 am

“… a waste of desert sand; A shape with lion body and the head of a man”*…

 

The sphinx before excavation

Thirty-three years ago, Peter Brosnan heard a story that seemed too crazy to be true: buried somewhere along California’s rugged Central Coast, beneath acres of sand dunes, lay the remains of a lost city. According to his friend at New York University’s film school, the remains of a massive Egyptian temple, a dozen plaster sphinxes, eight mammoth lions, and four 40-ton statues of Ramses II were all supposedly entombed in the sands 150 some-odd miles north of Los Angeles.

“It was an absolutely cockamamie story,” Brosnan says. “I thought he was nuts.” The ruins weren’t authentic Egyptian ones, of course. They were the 60-year-old remains of a massive Hollywood set—the biggest, most expensive one ever built at the time. The faux Egyptian scenery had played the role of the City of the Pharaoh in one of Hollywood’s first true epics, Cecil B DeMille’s 1923 film The Ten Commandments. The set had required more than 1,500 carpenters to build and used over 25,000 pounds of nails. The production nearly ruined DeMille and his studio. When the shoot wrapped, the tempestuous director supposedly strapped dynamite to the structures and razed the whole set, burying it in the sands near Guadalupe, California, to ensure no rival director could benefit from his vision.

Bullshit, Brosnan thought. But then his buddy pointed him to a line in DeMille’s posthumously published autobiography. “If 1,000 years from now archaeologists happen to dig beneath the sands of Guadalupe,” the director teased, “I hope they will not rush into print with the amazing news that Egyptian civilization…extended all the way to the Pacific Coast.”…

The City of the Pharaoh during filming

The extraordinary story of “The Cursed, Buried City That May Never See The Light of Day.”

* W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

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As we resolve to look more deeply, we might recall that it was on his date in 2001 that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in theaters in the U.S.  It went on to gross nearly $1 billion worldwide, and to launch seven more films based on J.K. Rowling’s novels over the next decade.

At the premiere: stars Daniel Radcliffe (age 12), Rupert Grint (13), and Emma Watson (11)

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Written by LW

November 16, 2015 at 1:01 am

“‘I DON’T CARE!’ Harry yelled at them… ‘I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH'”*…

 

 click here for zoomable version

As of July 2013, the Harry Potter books had sold between 400 and 450 million copies, in 73 languages, making them one of the best-selling book series in history.  The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, with the final installment moving approximately 11 million copies in the United States within the first twenty-four hours of its release.  (R)D readers who aren’t yet readers of the Hogwarts chronicle may be feeling the need to catch up– a particularly uncomfortable pressure given the temporal constraints of the Holiday season getting underway…

Fear not:  comic artist Lucy Knisley has created this intricate illustration, which sums up the entire saga. The full-size image measures 2700 x 4458 pixels, and covers all of the major plot points of Harry’s epic journey.

[via Mighty Mega]

* “Harry Potter” in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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As we celebrate classics, illustrated, we might send trenchant birthday wishes to two of history’s most acute observers of the human condition:  Jonathan Swift, the satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, and cleric who’s probably best remembered for Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, was born on this date in 1667.

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And Samuel Langhorne Clemens– Mark Twain– the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and its sequel, “The Great American Novel” Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, was born on this date in 1835.

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Swift ultimately rose to high church office, serving as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.  Clemens did not.

Written by LW

November 30, 2014 at 1:01 am

The Annals of Symbology, Vol. 27: “Simple Substitution- Rowling Rampant” (Naughtiness Alert- NSFC)…

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Further to the “Plato Code” discovered by Manchester University professor Jay Kennedy to be hidden in the works of Plato (as described in “Special Edition: Too Weird…“), internet scholar “JonJonB” reports (on ICQ):

Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word “wand” with “wang” in the first Harry Potter Book…

Some of his results:

“Why aren’t you supposed to do magic?” asked Harry.
[Hagrid:] “Oh, well — I was at Hogwarts meself but I — er — got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an’ everything.

“Oh, move over,” Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry’s wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, “Alohomora!”

Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls.

“Get – off – me!” Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.

Readers will find other compelling evidence– and indeed have the opportunity to search for long-suspected but as-yet-discovered references to Plato in Rowling’s text– at Quote Database.  And readers see/can hear The Pointer Sisters sing this post’s theme song, Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” here.

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As we remember that we promised ourselves to reread Ulysses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that 20,000 people in Reno, Nevada saw Jack Johnson–  boxing’s first African-American heavyweight champ– successfully defend his title against James J. Jeffries.  Jeffries, a prior champ, had retired in 1904 undefeated (Johnson had won the title from Tommy Burns, who received it by default).

In 1910, Jeffries announced “I feel obligated to the sporting public at least to make an effort to reclaim the heavyweight championship for the white race. . . . I should step into the ring again and demonstrate that a white man is king of them all.”  In the event, Johnson proved stronger and more nimble than Jeffries. In the 15th round, after Jeffries had been knocked down twice for the first time in his career, his people called it quits to prevent Johnson from knocking him out.

Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a “great white hope” to defeat him.  The result triggered race riots that evening — the Fourth of July — all across the United States, from Texas and Colorado  to New York and Washington, D.C.  Indeed, many “riots” were simply Blacks celebrating in the streets.  In some cities, like Chicago, the police didn’t disturb the celebrations.  But in others, the police and angry white citizens tried to subdue the revelers. In all, “riots” occurred in more than 25 states and 50 cities. About 23 Blacks and two Whites died in the riots, and hundreds more were injured.  Police interrupted several attempted lynchings.

The fight

It was, of course, also on this date– in 1776– that the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

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The Sincerest Form of Flattery, Part Two: The Wonders of Cultural Appropriation…

From the always-amusing 11 Points (“Because Top Ten Lists Are For Cowards”), “11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China“…

From Harry Potter and the Leopard Walk-Up-To Dragon (cover above)…

…the author took the text of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and replaced the character names with names from the Harry Potter universe. Except for Gandalf — he remains and joins forces with the Potter crew. Here’s a passage, full on [SIC] in advance:

“There was a hobbit, who didn’t even know how to return home. He lived in a hole in the ground, and didn’t know where he came from or where he was going to. He even didn’t know why he had become a hobbit. This was Hogwartz School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 5th year apprentice Harry Potter.”

…through Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Harry Potter

I couldn’t find a translation of this book (or a picture of its cover) but the title just kills me — smashing together two completely unrelated, but popular, Western book series to produce (I’m guessing) a non-sequitur mess. It would be like the bootleggers making a movie called “Avatar: The Hangover” or a TV show called “Laverne and Shirley and Jon and Kate”.

… to Harry Potter and Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters

This is an interesting literary move — they just carbon copied the plot of the first real “Harry Potter” book… but moved the voice to Harry’s first-person perspective. That’s some deep “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” stuff right there.

An excerpt:

“This was a secret I had cherished in my heart for seven days. It scratched my heart and made it itch, and I decided not to tell anyone of it. But when I saw Hedwig, my owl, jumping outside my window, I knew it was the call from Hogwarts for me.

I would ride on my favorite flying broom, together with Hedwig and my magic wand, go-go-go, night clouds in the urban sky would cover my trails, and the meteor you saw in the sky was my traipsing manteau.”

The other eight Harrys, along with some absolutely stunning cover art– including the jacket for Harry Potter and Beaker and Burn, onto which Harry welcomes (for no explicable reason) Flick, the star of Pixar’s A Bug’s Life— at  “11 Amazing Fake Harry Potter Books Written In China.”

Readers might note that cultural appropriation of this sort has long (and storied) precedent.  Jim Fallows quotes a wonderful passage from “”Wild Bird Hickcock and His Friends,”  an essay by James Thurber– a fan of French pulp-novel versions of American Westerns:

There were, in my lost and lamented collection, a hundred other fine things, which I have forgotten, but there is one that will forever remain with me. It occurred in a book in which, as I remember it, Billy the Kid, alias Billy the Boy, was the central figure. At any rate, two strangers had turned up in a small Western town and their actions had aroused the suspicions of a group of respectable citizens, who forthwith called on the sheriff to complain about the newcomers. The sheriff listened gravely for a while, got up and buckled on his gun belt, and said, “Alors, je vais demander ses cartes d’identité!” There are few things, in any literature, that have ever given me a greater thrill than coming across that line.

As we realize that we too are free to mash up, say, Dostoyevsky, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock”, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

Bill Haley and a couple of Comets

Deja vu all over again…

Further to “Pardon me, but do you have the time?…,” an epic effort from David McCandless and InformationIsBeautiful.net:

As for his next project, McCandless is recruiting: “So who wants to work with me on the Dr Who one? I’m serious. Email me.”

As we check our watches, we might recall that it was this date in 1998 that Scholastic published the first book in the Harry Potter saga, re-titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for consumption in the United States. The changes went beyond the title (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the original UK incarnation): illustrations were added to the start of each chapter, and British spelling, punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary were “translated” into American English. The first print run was 50,000 copies. (The initial UK run was 500 copies, which occasioned an extraordinary scramble at the printers…)

Scholastic was behaving in a time-honored way, recognizing that (as Wilde or Shaw or Churchill; it’s variously attributed) observed, “England and America are two people divided by a common language.”  When Samuel Goldwyn was preparing the U.S. release the film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s wonderful play, The Madness of George III, he insisted that the title be changed to The Madness of King George.  Goldwyn was concerned that American audiences might take the original title to mean that the film was a sequel.

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