Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hold on to your hat ...

Those who drop by the cafe know that we are rather enthusiastic about the Harry Potter series. Unless one has been living under the proverbial rock, this is a big weekend in the history of this book series - the last book, Deathly Hallows, is released at the stroke of midnight on Saturday, June 21.

In anticipation for this event, we will be liveblogging from the Fairfax Borders starting on Friday, July 20. We will be interviewing the author of Finding God in Harry Potter and several other books (more later!) John Granger which will be available via podcast on Friday. We will also be doing some video casts - and we can't promise we won't dive back to The Troubles from time to time on Friday (after all, this is a cafe).

In fact, we will have a Reserved Table by the David Blue Memorial Pinball Machine for all of those who haven't yet read the books and want to talk about other things - so stay tuned.

We will be going to an all-night reading party and will emerge once the book is read. But there will be no spoilers here - any "spoilers" will be directed to another (for now) undisclosed location - so stay tuned for that too!

UPDATE: Here's some more info on the author, John Granger, who we will be interviewing while live blogging at Borders on Friday. I first heard about John when I read his book The Hidden Key to Harry Potter and then Looking for God in Harry Potter. I then joined his class online at B&N University and wrote some essays for that course. In our interview we'll talk about why Christians should read Harry Potter, what makes J.K. Rowling a descendant of the Inklings, the meaning of Christian Alchemy in the novels, as well as his predictions for Deathly Hallows.

Here's some more info:

John Granger is a reader in the Greek Orthodox Church, and the author of several books analysing J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

Granger was born in Corning, New York and grew up in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. He attended prep school at Philips Exeter Academy and holds an honors degrees from the University of Chicago, where he studied classical languages and literature. He is currently a teacher of English, Latin and journalism at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Previously he taught Latin at The Asheville School, Peninsula College, and Chimacum High School.

Granger served for 6 years in the US Marine Corps including postings at the Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms, CA, and at Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan. He is married to Mary, and has seven children.

Granger guest lectures at universities on various topics, and has given more than 100 radio and television interviews.

Works about Harry Potter

Granger first became interested in Harry Potter when his daughter was given a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. He read the book with the intention of pointing out to his daughter what was wrong with it, but instead was impressed by the Christian imagery, classical references, and 'acerbic criticism of muggledom'. The interest developed through debating the books in the C. S. Lewis society and giving lectures about them to the point where the lectures became the basis for a book, 'Looking for God in Harry Potter' (Tyndale, 2004). This deals with the books from the perspective of Christianity and Christian imagerery included in them and has sold more than 50,000 copies. He has described Voldemort as 'the most powerful indictment of the humanity of our times of any book I have read' in popular literature.

He has taught Harry Potter courses on the online Barnes and Noble University since 2004. He has also appeared as a guest in favour of the Harry Potter books on several radio and t.v. shows, including CNN. As a proponent of the Christain imagery in the novels, he has become involved in the debate criticising them as encouraging paganism and witchcraft.

Describing himself as "one of the leading authorities on the Harry Potter books as read in the context of English literature," his specialist interests are the post-modern qualities and Rowling's use of literary alchemy in the Harry Potter novels.

Published Works

  • The Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Understanding the Meaning, Genius, and Popularity of Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter Novels (Zossima Press, 2003)
  • Looking for God in Harry Potter (Tyndale House, 2005)
  • Who Killed Albus Dumbledore? (Zossima Press, 2006, isbn 0-9723221-1-6) - six essays, of which one is written by Granger, and the other five by five Harry Potter 'fan-theorists' (Wendy B. Harte, Sally M. Gallo, Daniela Teo, 'Swythyv', and Joyce Odell (or 'Red-hen')), and collected together by Granger. A proportion of the proceeds of the book are being donated to the Childrens High Level Group [1], a charity co-founded by Rowling in 2005.
  • Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader

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