Posts tagged "Harry Potter"

The Nerdy Pharisees

When I was in college, a group of pledges from one of the socially-elite fraternities on campus painted “NERDS” in large capital letter on the roof of my fraternity’s house. It was a pejorative statement.

Until that act of vandalism, we didn’t know that we were nerds. We dressed nicely. We drank a lot. We were involved in campus activities. We weren’t the glasses-wearing, teetotaling, social pariahs portrayed in movies like Revenge of the Nerds. We were nice people.

But our niceness was precisely what made us nerds. The ever-evolving landscape of social distinctions can be difficult to discern. And, unless you’re one of…

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Another Week Ends: Flannery Prays, Calvin Outsells Luther, More ‘Millenials’-ism, Next-Next-Gen Gaming Consoles (PSILOVU), Backfiring Discipline, Zombie Impressionism and Noah: The Movie

1. Well, we knew about Mary Flannery’s early life of training chickens to walk backward (1932); it appears that God marked O’Connor out as different from pretty early on. We remember the short stories of violent grace and brilliant essays, and we even got to read some excerpts from her year-and-a-half-long prayer journal (written while still studying for her MFA at Iowa) in September. Well, three days ago the full work was released, edited by her friend William Sessions, and The New Yorker posted a great review/primer for anyone interested in fiction, O’Connor, prayer, the South, grad school, wooden legs, etc:

She reckoned that her success…

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The Freedom of Robert Galbraith

As we all know, expectations can be crippling. Success breeds expectations for more success and higher, sometimes unfair, scrutiny can be placed upon a person. This scrutiny can be debilitating, and after an acclaimed bestseller – well, what do you write next?

Last year, J.K. Rowling published her first book since the finale of Harry Potter, called The Casual Vacancy, under her own name. The book received mixed reviews, but almost all of the negative reviews (e.g. in The New York Times and The LA Times) used Harry Potter as the baseline – the standard – by which to evaluate the…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Colossians Chapter Three Verses Three and Four

An amazing devotion this morning comes from Lynn MacDougall, who shares a reflection on both the Fall Mockingbird Conference and its cornerstone concept–the hope we find in death. 

“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Since my time at the recent Mockingbird Conference in Charlottesville, I have been thinking about death. A lot.  Suffering was the heart of the matter, but “death” was the “piece de resistance.”   Questions that emerged: What does it mean to live? What does it mean…

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The Devil Within: A World Without Voldemort

In a recent NY Times article, A.O. Scott has conducted a fascinating survey of the movie villains of the last year. For Scott, the death of Lord Voldemort marks the end of an era in the American characterization of evil. The rise of the Harry Potter franchise and Voldemort coincided with the rise of terrorism and Osama Bin Laden in the national consciousness. Within the world of Harry Potter, Voldemort embodied evil without qualification in the same way that Bin Laden gave a face to the mercurial threat of terror. Both men offered the possibility that good and evil, right…

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A Harry Potter Heresy? In Defense of Draco

Who would think of naming someone other than the belovedly scar-ridden H.P. the hero of J.K. Rowling’s famous tales of witchcraft and wizardry? This is precisely the claim coming from the mouth of Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy, father of privileged bad boy and Slytherin typecast, Draco, in the film adaptation of Harry Potter. Don’t curse us just yet, Gryffindor. Isaacs’ comment isn’t meant to derail the entire Potter fantasy, nor take away from the golden child that is Harry Potter, but to reinstate the luster lost within a character so commonly perceived as sinister. Isaacs sheds light [Lumos!]…

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Another Week Ends: Divorce Delusions, FNL, KJV, Natural Family Planning, Pastafarianism, Harry Potter and 30 Rock

1. New Mbird favorite Heather Havrilesky hit another home run in this past Sunday’s NY Times Magazine with her column “The Divorce Delusion,” in which she exposed the current sunny pop-climate about divorce for what it is, namely, delusional. Or at least very naive. She also took the opportunity to muse on the underlying narcissism:

The moral to this modern divorce story? If everyone involved doesn’t emerge stronger, happier and more productive, well, then, in the vague parlance of today’s progressive preschool, someone is making bad choices.

The notion that there’s some “right” choice for every life challenge fits neatly into the…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 7: The Deathly Hallows

Mischief managed! On the eve of the final film’s release, we conclude our Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter series with the final book’s namesake, The Deathly Hallows, the three folkloric and instrumental relics of magic which enable its beholder to cheat death, in costly ways. The Master of the three Hallows is the Master of Death. As a word of caution to those who have not yet read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (for shame!), or would prefer not to be made aware of insights, theological or otherwise, related to the final part of the saga, this is your…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 6: Horcruxes

As we enter the week of the final film‘s release, out this Friday in a theater near you, we finish our Harry Potter Sacraments series with two theologically potent elements, both of which are imperative for the saga’s conclusion. We’ll begin today with Horcruxes, the darkest of Dark Magic, and what they say about human malediction, and one’s desire for substitution. On Wednesday, we finish with the final book’s namesake, The Deathly Hallows.

Slughorn: “You must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature.”

Riddle: “But how do…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 5: The Mudblood

As we continued our series last week with the Pensieve, so we move into Part 5: The Mudblood, the derogatory and tradition-favoring term used against wizards from non-magic families. A thoughtful and enduring device used by Rowling throughout the Harry Potter saga, the notion of race purity says a lot about our own sociological world, the inversion of that sociological world in the Church, as well as the world of faith in regards to the relationship between law and acceptance.

“No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood,” he spat.

Harry knew at once that Malfoy had said something…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 4: The Pensieve

“We solemnly swear that we are up to no good!” As the Potter series continues, we take a look into the Pensieve–which will play a large role in the final film–the magical basin of memory’s stains and understandings. To read this series’ earlier entries, look no further than here, here and here.

Dumbledore got to his feet and walked around the desk, past Harry, who turned eagerly in his seat to watch Dumbledore bending over the cabinet beside the door. When Dumbledore straightened up, he was holding a familiar shallow stone basin etched with odd markings around its rim. He placed…

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The Seven Sacraments of Harry Potter, Part 3: The Dementor

We continue our seven-part exploration of the most theologically potent elements in the Harry Potter saga with a look at the nature of, and inspiration for, the dementor–the hellish wardens of Azkaban prison–and the only counterforce that repels them. Just how did Sirius Black escape?! For Parts 1 and 2, click here and here.

Standing in the doorway, illuminated by the shivering flames in Lupin’s hand, was a cloaked figure that towered to the ceiling. Its face was completely hidden beneath its hood. Harry’s eyes darted downward, and what he saw made his stomach contract. There was a hand protruding from…

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