Now Potterheads can unload their galleons on the entire collection – shoes, hoodies, backpacks, socks, shirts, and caps. The designs not only celebrate the famed Hogwarts houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin – but other beloved magical objects, spells, and themes such as the Maurader’s Map, the Golden Snitch, Deathly Hallows, and Morsmorde.
Before the highly-anticipated released, Vans Senior Director of Global Merchandising Ashley Ahwah spoke with Forbes about joining the wizarding world family, how their talented designers were avid Potter fans, and hinted at other exciting releases slates for the rest of the year:
When we looked to approach this project, we’re like looking at our brand parallels and it was such a great fit. An example is like Vans did for skateboarding J.K. Rowling brought the Harry Potter series and really took the cultural niche that was really based on escapism and introduced it to pop culture.
I think when we first approached this we found how many of our creative teams were avid, avid fans. A lot of our designers within footwear and apparel read the books, knew all of the nuances and secrets behind the series and it was really amazing to see how they could put together a story across all of the book series into a collection of footwear and apparel.
From footwear to apparel, you can find the entire Harry Potter x Vans collection on the official website.
I met Dr Janina Scarlet at MISTI-Con 2015 at which Group That Shall Not Be Named gathering she and I were the headliners. I moderated a panel that featured her explanation of ‘Superhero-Therapy’ and the role that reading stories can play in creating or re-fashioning a positive idea of ourselves. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, teacher of acceptance and commitment therapy, and a “full-time witch” (her words).
To the point, she is posting podcasts at her website, Superhero-Therapy.com, that are chapter-by chapter readings of the seven Harry Potter novels from a psychologist’s perspective. Dr Louise Freeman, HogwartsProfessor.com certified Potter Pundit and Psychology professor at Mary Baldwin University, was Dr Scarlet’s special guest for her reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone chapter 6, ‘The Journey from Platform Nine and Three Quarters.’
I don’t listen to podcasts as a rule (especially ones I am on) but I was curious about this series and, having been in several podcasts with Dr Freeman and an admirer of all her popular literature analysis, I knew her part would reward a listening. I wasn’t disappointed! Check out the conversation at Superhero-Therapy.com — it’s only half an hour — and let me know what you think.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Bloomsbury has announced an art auction featuring Patronuses to raise money for BookTrust. BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity; each year they reach 3.4 million children across the UK with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading, because they know that reading can transform lives.
8th July 2019 marks 20 years since the first publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in the UK – the spellbinding third book in the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series that introduced readers to the notion of casting their Patronus – a protective spell that manifests as a silvery animal guardian.
Bloomsbury – the home of Harry Potter books in the UK– has joined forces with BookTrust, the UK’s largest reading charity, to mark 20 years of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with a thrilling event that celebrates the Patronus Charm in all of its magical forms. A stellar line-up of over 20 top UK children’s book illustrators, Bloomsbury Harry Potter book artists (Jim Kay, Jonny Duddle, Levi Pinfold, Emily Gravett and Chris Riddell), and the amazing design minds behind MinaLima are creating ORIGINAL postcard-sized illustration of Patronus creatures.
Diana Gerald, BookTrust CEO commented, “We are thrilled to be part of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’s 20th anniversary and we know that these exclusive, one-of-a-kind illustrations will be in high demand. It’s lovely to think that a novel which has inspired children around the globe, along with some of the world’s most talented illustrators will help BookTrust to support families and get books into the hands of children across the UK.”
Prospective purchasers will be able to bid for the pieces online at BookTrust’s eBay for Charity page which will be live at 6pm BST on Monday 8th July and the postcards will be displayed during that week at Waterstones Piccadilly. With a wealth of talent from the world of children’s books these unique interpretations of the animal form of the Patronus are guaranteed to be a must-have for fans of all ages. Keep an eye out at www.booktrust.org.uk for more information.
Meanwhile, Bloomsbury is working closely with The Week Junior magazine to challenge children in schools throughout the UK to create their own ‘Patronus on a Postcard’ and win some amazing Harry Potter prizes. The competition runs from 7th – 27th June. Judges include Harry Potter illustrator Levi Pinfold and The Week Junior’s editor-in-chief Anna Bassi.
The following artists are participating by creating original artwork for the auction:
Another week of spellbinding surprises in the Wizarding World as we prepare to head to Orlando for the HUGE Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Grand Opening next week!! We had the honor of attending the magical House of MinaLima’s third birthday celebration and we let you know about a free screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone coming up in Leicester Square! We also took a portkey to Vans in London to see their brand new Harry Potter collection and gave you an update on the beta testing of the upcoming Harry Potter AR game Wizards Unite.
This week in our Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast Actor’s Round-up Bonnie Wright becomes a Greenpeace Oceans Ambassador, rave reviews are in for Emma Thompson in Late Night, Daniel Radcliffe may appear in the next season of Who Do You Think You Are?, a behind-the-scenes look at Brendan Gleeson in season two of Mr. Mercedes, interviews with Zoe Kravitz ahead of the premiere of Big Little Lies next season, a new crime series for David Tennant and more!
Bonnie Wright Becomes a Greenpeace Oceans Ambassador
Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, has spent most of her post-Wizarding World career behind the camera. She has also become a very passionate and vocal advocate for the environment in the effort to reduce single-use plastic. During World Oceans Day this weekend she announced that after years of work with Greenpeace, she is now an official Greenpeace Oceans Ambassador. Wright let her followers know exactly what she would be doing with the organization via her Instagram account,
“I will be working to help implement a United Nations global treaty to protect a third of our oceans as sanctuaries by 2030.”
Congratulations to Bonnie Wright. We are in awe of her activist spirit and what she accomplishes for our world even without magic! As we had the chance to discuss with her earlier this year at Planet Comicon, if wizards don’t need plastic, neither do Muggles. We can all do our part. She posted a link for fans to volunteer with Greenpeace along with her.
Rave Reviews for Emma Thompson in Late Night
Our prediction that this is the year of Emma Thompson, Harry Potter’s Divination Professor Sybill Trelawney, are starting to take shape, as rave reviews roll in for her latest film Late Night where she plays the first woman late night talk show host. Writer and co-star Mindy Kaling shared the news that the queen of, not only talk show hosts, but celebrities in general, Oprah Winfrey, gave the film a major thumbs up along with a plethora of other kudos from critics. Congratulations to Kaling and Emma Thompson. We’re keeping our eye on that crystal ball this year waiting for our prophecy to come to fruition!
Late Night is now showing in theaters worldwide.
Thank you my queen. To hear this from you means the whole world to me. I wish I could tell my mom that I made Oprah laugh. ?????????? https://t.co/xn7ZW15N6R
Daniel Radcliffe to Guest Star on BBC Genealogy Series?
Unconfirmed reports, including one from The Sun, say that according to an unnamed “TV source”, former boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe will be a special guest on an upcoming episode of the BBC celebrity genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?
The source shared the specifics below on a look into Radcliffe’s family history,
“When Daniel starred in TV drama My Boy Jack — one of his first major roles after Potter — his inspiration was his great-great-uncle Ernie, who lost his life in World War One.”[…]“He pieces together the heartbreaking story of how Ernie fought alongside his three brothers and how all of them, except for Ernie, survived.”
If the Sun’s source is correct, Radcliffe will appear in season 17 of the series which may premiere later in 2019 on BBC One. We’ll keep you posted.
A First Look at Brendan Gleeson in Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes
After winning the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a TV drama for his role in season 2 of the adaptation of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, Brendan Gleeson, Mad-Eye Moody, is back as retired detective Bill Hodges for season 3. Check out at an exclusive behind the scenes look at the upcoming season revealed earlier this week by Entertainment Weekly. Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes drops on the Audience Network September 10.
Zoe Kravitz on the Big Little Lies Press Tour
Ahead of the season two premiere of the HBO hit series Big Little Lies Zoe Kravitz, Fantastic Beasts Leta Lestrange, who plays one of the Monterey Five, Bonnie Carlson, has been hitting the press tour with the cast, as well as on her own. After a group interview on GMA covered by Leaky last week, Kravitz appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as well as on the cover of British Vogue earlier this week. From jeans and a T to couture, this is one versatile former witch! Take a look at the interview with Colbert and get a sneak peek at season two of Big Little Lies which premieres June 9 on HBO.
A New Series for David Tennant
Just off the long awaited premiere of the Amazon fantasy series Good Omens, David Tennant is cast in an new 4-part crime drama Deadwater Fell. The series takes place in a small Scottish community, (no this isn’t a sequel to Broadchurch.) where Tennant, who’s known in the Potterverse as Barty Crouch, Jr. will star as Tom Kendrick, a local doctor who’s suspected of killing his wife and children.
Tennant, who is also executive producer on the show, said this about the project according to Deadline,
“Daisy Coulam has written something very special, chilling and fascinating with these scripts. I am honoured and delighted to be part of telling this extraordinary story.”
Take a look at Deadline’smore in depth synopsis of Deadwater Fell, which will air on Channel 4.
Trailer Two for The Professor Starring Johnny Depp
In Johnny Depp’s next film, the actor who’s known to Wizarding World fans as Fantastic Beasts Gellert Grindelwald, plays a college professor with just six months to live in The Professor. Depp’s character breaks the news to his family and then begins to apply a new outlook to his entire life, including how he teaches his students. Take a look at the new trailer below for the film which will be available on DVD and VOD June 24th.
A Sneak Peek of Peaky Blinders Season 5 with Helen McCrory
Season 5 of the award-winning 1920’s British crime drama Peaky Blinders starring Helen McCrory, is on the way and London fans have an opportunity to preview the first episode. The British Film Institute is holding a screening and panel with the cast and creative including McCrory, who’s known to Potter fans as Slytherin matriarch Narcissa Malfoy.
Here’s a synopsis for the upcoming season according to Joe,
“Opportunity and misfortune are everywhere. When Tommy Shelby MP (Cillian Murphy) is approached by a charismatic politician with a bold vision for Britain, he realises that his response will affect not just his family’s future but that of the entire nation.”
Ticket information for the July 23 event at the Southbank Theatre can be found here. No word on an air date for Peaky Blinders, which has moved to BBC One for season 5.
That’s all for this week. Meet us back here again next time and don’t forget to join us next week for coverage of the Grand Opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort!!
I have passed on reading the R. R. Martin Game of Thrones novels or watching the teevee adaptations of them. I have done this despite the requests from audiences at talks and in private correspondence that I read, watch, and share my thinking at HogwartsProfessor on the written or filmed series. I’m just not interested enough to tackle the many long books — and I don’t even own a television.
Rev George, a long time friend of this blog and correspondent, thought I would enjoy Tom Luongo’s review of the last episode in Thrones, ‘The Passing of Game of Thrones.’ He was right; I haven’t any idea if he is correct in his assessment of either original or the adapted series, but Luongo reads the books from a perspective I admire and share to greater than lesser degree.
Game of Thrones was a story built on classic archetypal, mytho-poetic storytelling ideas. But with the goal of undercutting them, of taking a more post-modernist approach, to just show chaos without structure and purpose, no ending could ever be satisfying.
As consumers, when we start a book or a movie we can go on a journey into hell and back again as long as once we’re finished the ride was worth it.
The story has to illuminate fundamental truths, not spit on them.
And what makes the series finale such a failure was the unwillingness of the writers to at the last moment embrace some traditional storytelling conventions and anchor the chaos of Westeros in a lesson that can be passed from generation to generation.
By betraying the arcs of main characters like John Snow, Arya Stark and Daenerys Targaryen Weiss and Benioff set themselves up for the backlash they are getting now. And with good reason.
Heroic storytelling requires heroes to rise to their pivotal moments and, through their actions, create the opportunity for radical change. They are born out of and rise above the chaos of their times to make the hard choices and sacrifices necessary to preserve the world and build the foundation for the next one.
Stories are not reality. Stories are meant as reflections of the world we live in. They exist to help us make sense of the senseless.
Game of Thrones fails, Luongo believes, because the artists involved “have lost the plot of humanity’s struggle” simultaneously to resist the chaos Game celebrates (contra Tolkien) and to create an “institutional order …sufficient to act as a brake on humanity’s worst impulses.” This, he explains, is a function of the author and teevee savants being so “thoroughly ingrained” in “post modern Marxism” as to be oblivious of the evils of chaos and the human need for boundaries lest we be animals.
I don’t know if what he says is true of the novels or their adaptation because I couldn’t tell if the many story references he makes to back his points are accurate or as crazed as what the Harry Haters have said and exorcists are saying about the Wizarding World. But I think his concerns are important ones, validly applied or not.
If you’ve watched the show and read Luongo’s review, let me know what you think!
In April, Leaky reported that Vans announced a collaboration with Warner Bros. to produce a magical new line ofVans x Harry Potter merchandise including footwear, bags, socks and more. Now that collection has gone live, and 52 Potter-themed pieces are available online and in stores with plenty of House-pride options to choose from!
Most well-known for their footwear, Vans offers Hogwarts House shoes in varying styles–Ravenclaw Authentic Shoes, Hufflepuff Slip-on Shoes, Gryffindor Sk8-Hi Shoes and Slytherin Era Shoes.
That’s certainly not all, however, and there are loads of other styles as well, including Golden Snitch Old Skool Shoes, Marauder’s Map Slip-On Shoes, Daily Prophet Comfycush Era Shoes, Iridescent Sk8-Hi Shoes, Deathly Hallows Old Skool Shoes, Dark Arts Sk8-Hi Platform Shoes and much more–not to mention kids and toddler sizes!
Beyond its iconic footwear, Vans has outdone itself, also offering apparel and accessories that would appeal to wizards and muggles alike! There are multiple styles of House-themed backpacks and socks, perfect for pairing with your Potter shoes.
Also look for House-pride hats or the Harry Potter Icons and Deathly Hallows-themed selections.
Last but by no means least, search through Vans collection of themed t-shirts and hoodies, and you’re sure to find one (or more!) that you simply can’t resist. From Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin t-shirts to a Deathly Hallows Long Sleeve Crop or Hogwarts and Dark Arts Hoodies, there is something for everyone!
Potter fans love their themed accessories, so the supply of Harry Potter merch continues to grow as the demand remains high. Wizarding collections are wildly successful, indicating that the market for these products is not yet saturated, so we are likely to see even more of these collaborations. And while there’s a lot to choose from, most collections have proved incredibly unique, and this one is no exception. Vans offers high quality options in tasteful and trendy designs and styles and is well worth a look.
Vans x Harry Potter is available through the official UK website here. Peruse the site to view the entire collection, and make sure to check out in-store availability as well!
Last Thursday, 6 June 2019, was the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe in 1944. ‘Operation Neptune,’ usually known just as D-Day, remains the largest invasion from the sea against a fortified beach-head. It led to the liberation of France and eventually to victory on WWII’s Western Front.
D-Day is often called ‘The Longest Day’ because of Cornelius Ryan’s 1959 popular history of the invasion that had that title as well as the blockbuster film made in 1962 based on the book. David Martin wrote me on Thursday, 6 June this year, to suggest that Rowling deliberately made the longest day in the Hogwarts Saga the 50th anniversary of the invasion, 6 June 1994, as a kind of tribute.
We should, of course, honor the heroes of D-Day – June sixth, 1944. That day is sometimes called “the longest day” because of the great struggle and because of the uncertainty as the whole world waited for the outcome. There is a classic film about D-Day with the title “The Longest Day.”
J. K. Rowling appears to have honored that day in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. One of the few specific dates given in the Harry Potter novels is the date of Buckbeak’s scheduled execution – June sixth. (Prisoner, page 400)
The year would have been 1994 – fifty years, to the day, after D-Day. In Prisoner June sixth, 1994, is the day when Hermione used her Time-Turner to take Harry and herself back three hours. Thus they experienced a 27 hour day – their longest day.
Since none of us mere Muggles has yet mastered legilimency it is doubtful that we will ever discover all the hidden meanings and references in J. K. Rowling’s books.
A fascinating possibility, especially in a book with so many Nazi-Death Eater correspondences that more than one critic has suggested the series is an extended WWII allegory (e.g., Voldemort is Hitler, the Weasley-Delacour wedding is the Anglo-French alliance, etc.). MuggleNet gives the date as 9 June on its calendar but the Lexicon timeline for Prisoner has it as 6 June 1994 as David writes.
What do you think? Is the 6 June 1994 longest day in Harry Potter a word-play hat-tip to the Longest Day invasion of Europe in 1994?
Ezra Miller is an interesting character — and I use that ch-word deliberately. His life seems a studied piece of improvisation, a staged and predictable performance in conventional, perpetual non-conformity. His sexual polyamorism and adventurism, his strident identification with and defense of anyone and everyone oppressed (except Christians, of course; “Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world and it’s accelerating,” USCIRF Report, 2019), and his attention-demanding choice of clothing make him something of a historical glyph or cartoon capturing the Zeitgeist. I rather like watching the ‘Ezra Miller Show’ as it plays out, even if the series currently seems caught in a loop of re-run spontaneity; I enjoy his having been cast as the loner Credence Barebone, lost and confused about who he is and the meaning of his life as much as anyone. He plays the part really well.
Lately, though, I have been worried about Boy Wonder Ezra. He may have over-played the ‘bad boy’ hand, the guy who knows-better than the experts, with Warner Brothers, the movie studio responsible for the DC super-hero movies (as well as, y’know, the Wizarding World).
On 17 March, it was reported that Miller was disappointed with the script for The Flash film in which he plays the lead role. DC wanted a relatively light and engaging film like its recent successes with Wonder Woman and Aquaman; Miller thought they needed a more profound and challenging story — and said he would be writing the script?
The development has bubbled up from a clash of creative visions. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who have been on board the project since January 2018, have taken a light-hearted approach to the material (and even hail from that sort of background, with credits like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Game Night). And, as sources note, that is the general track favored by Warners, which scored a billion-dollar hit with Aquaman by going the fun spectacle route and is seeing strong buzz on Shazam!, which is wearing its “superheroics is fun” on its sleeve.
Miller is said to want a darker take on the material.
The two sides have been working on compromises since last year, but Miller took the initiative to tackle the story himself. He partnered with Morrison, with Warners hiring the two to script their take. It is a rare move for an actor to be so invested in a superhero project that they switch hats, but Miller sees himself as deeply committed to the character.
If to you that seems a presumptuous and self-destructively naive over-reach for the actor, don’t feel that’s a unique or uncharitable take on your part. Warner Brothers decision makers seem to agree.
On 13 April, we had reports that the Miller-Morrison script for Flash had been rejected — and, in the process, the actor may have lost a to-die-for part in the DC Superhero franchise at Warner Brothers.
Recently, development on Warner Bros.’ The Flash movie took an unexpected turn. Star Ezra Miller disagreed with the lighter tone directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley want and so decided to provide his own script for the Scarlet Speedster’s solo movie with comic book scribe Grant Morrison. It was reported that if the studio didn’t want to go with his screenplay, though, Miller would be out as Barry Allen.
Well, according to a source close to We Got This Covered, this has come to pass and Miller may now be done as the Flash. It should be said that our source notes they’ve heard some conflicting information on the topic, but we’re told that the general consensus amongst those close to the project is that the Justice Leaguestar won’t be playing the lead in The Flash, after all, and Warner Bros. will now recast the role.
As laid out in previous write-ups of the situation, the reason for this is that WB decided not to go with Miller’s storyline as it’s simply not the route they want to take. We’ve been told that they liked his script, but not enough to change course. This makes sense, too, considering WB has found success with lighter fare like Aquamanand Shazam!of late and Miller’s script was said to be a grand, dark multiversal epic in the vein of Flashpoint.
On 26 May we learned ( as in ‘heard still another industry rumor’) that Ezra Miller’s time with DC/Warner Brothers would be over if the parties could not agree on a new contract by 1 June. No contract, no more difficulties with actor-turned-screenwriter-and-creative-visionary, on with the show.
As Warner Bros. Pictures moves forward with their DC Comics franchises, it looks like some of the last remnants of Zack Snyder’s influence are about to disappear. Snyder had a hand in casting some of the biggest players in this current iteration, with Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa leading budding Wonder Woman and Aquaman franchises. But the remaining Justice League actors might be on their way out.
Ben Affleck has already stepped away from Batman, paving the way for Robert Pattinson to take the role. Rumors indicate that Henry Cavill’s time as Superman is likely over, as well. And now it seems like Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller are done as Cyborg and the Flash respectively.
We’re well into June and I haven’t heard or read anything online either way about the contract negotiations. That could just be a publicity stunt or a poker move from either party in the discussion. Has Miller hit the brakes on the publicly expressed arrogance of “I know best” about Flash? I’m not getting that from what he is quoted as saying in the ComicBook.com/DC piece above, although the quotation appears to be from the time just before the Crimes of Grindelwald release, i.e., well before this kerfuffle about scripts.
Miller himself explained the reasoning for the delay while doing press for ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ last year.
“But the reason why we are late,” the actor continued. “And this is the honest to god truth… We’re all — and I include myself in this — we are very meticulously focused on making a movie that’s not just one of the greatest superhero movies that we can possibly make. This movie’s also going to be a gift to the fans.”
Will Ezra Miller self-destruct as part of his live-theater role as Chaos-and-Pleasure-Seeking-Missile incarnate? I half expect he will in time, but I’m sure, media-magnet and star quote-generator that he is, we will hear all about it and soon. Let’s hope he comes out of this with enough of his relationship with Warner Brothers intact to continue in the Fantastic Beasts movies.
Hey, if Rowling is not going to be writing the screenplays for the next few Beasts movies (yes, that’s a rumor, too), maybe Ezra can lend a hand?
On Saturday 15th June, Cineworld Leicester Square will host a special screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — and best of all, the screening’s FREE!
The screening occurs after UK-wide survey by DiscoverLSQ – the UK’s “Home of Film” – voted the franchise the best to watch with the whole family, so what better time to start the series than the day before Father’s Day in Cineworld in Leicester square — the venue for movie premieres in London!
As an Orthodox Christian traditionalist and something of a perennialist, ‘Marxism’ is a trigger word for me. Be it the economic Marxism that in the form of Soviet and Chinese communism murdered at least one hundred million people in the 20th Century or the cultural Marxism that has been slowly “marching through the institutions” of universities, media, and government since the advent of the Frankfurt School in the 40’s and 50’s, I have no time for or tolerance of those who believe in ‘Socialism,’ the secular religion of millenialist faith in government and ‘progressive politics’ to cure human ills, or who look at the world exclusively as the stage of conflict between haves and have nots, oppressor and oppressed, the privileged and the disempowered.
I have significant and profound problems with the political right and even Classical liberalism as well, the other side of the materialist/individualist/rationalist nightmare ‘coin’ of our times, but with Marxists, the so-called ‘Hard Left’? I have to struggle to speak of them or with them as rational actors. The crimes of Marxists and the blood of their millions of victims cry out so loudly that the claims and cries of the Woke that they are speaking for “social justice” are nigh on impossible for me to hear.
‘The Goblin Problem,’ in brief, is that Rowling’s goblins seem to many to be transparencies for Jews. Their description and behaviors parallel in ways anti-Semitic caricatures familiar from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Dickens’ Fagin in Oliver Twist, and German National Socialist propaganda. This is bizarre, to say the least, because Rowling is a public defender of Jews in the UK and their struggle against the contemporary wave of anti-Semitism there and around the world. Could she have embedded such a glaringly ugly and demeaning depiction of Jews in her Hogwarts Saga?
Dr Groves argues cogently that this is a complete misunderstanding of the goblins and I think she has succeeded in simultaneously clearing Rowling, explaining the much more challenging and important meaning of the goblins, and presenting this problem, the reflex misinterpretation of her work, as a sign of how difficult this meaning is for readers to grasp in a time when corporate capitalists have all but eliminated craftsmen as a class or social fact. I am an uber fan of Dr Groves’ work and this pair of essays is some of her best work yet.
My problem? Dr Groves presents her case in the language of Karl Marx.
It is not, however, a ‘Marxist critique’ or materialist reading of Harry Potter; if anything, the essays are a takedown of the litmus strip reading and representational testing of literature that predominates public and academic discourse today. Groves demonstrates just how wrong the Goblins-as-Jews reading is, which is an implicit rejection of the cultural Marxists. Groves seems to think it makes a more powerful argument to defend Rowling with her detractors own weapons, as it were.
She chooses to use Karl Marx’s description of the conflict between craftsmen and the holders of capital in the industrial revolution to do this. Which comes at a cost, I think. This will almost certainly confuse the less-than-very-attentive reader into thinking that Groves is a ‘Marxist’ of the camp that she is implicitly criticizing using the words of the sick man whose work was responsible for more deaths and lives-spent-in-living-death than perhaps any other writer.
Did she have any other way of doing this? Of course there was. She could have cited the work of E. P. Thompson, especially the seminal The Making of the English Working Class, to make all her points (Yes, I know Thompson was a communist and Marxist but he was one who took a heroic stance against Soviet communism and Stalinism, calling for the overthrow of that Orwellian regime contra Party officials, that fellow-travelers like Rowling-hero and communist Jessica Mitford never did).
In the end perhaps Groves’ mission, because she is correcting a Marxist misreading with the words and ideas of Marx himself, which are in the twisted man’s defense distinct if not especially well removed from his writing, is to point out the failings of Literary Critique. If so, my hat is off to her.
If it was instead meant as a criticism of anti-Marxists, i.e., that only using Marx can we understand the goblins properly and that reflex disdain for Marxism should not blind us to what insights the man had about the post industrial revolution world in which we live? As just the kind of anti-Marxist she may have been addressing (albeit one who has read more of Marx than just The Communist Manifesto — I bear the mental scars of one who has labored through The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and other page-turners), I accept the point — and I re-iterate that any effort to elevate or celebrate Marx or Marxism while we still live in a world swept up in and demographically altered forever by Marxist murderers and criminals and stooges is an unfortunate invitation to overlook their crimes.
Am I blind to the self-contradiction of litmus strip reading of any text with an anti-Marxist testing agent in rejection of Marxist litmus strip readings by feminists, socialists, racial representationalists, and queer theorists? No, I am not. Hence my tempered response to Groves’ excellent essays with their Marxist elements, essays I recommend with enthusiasm and some reservations.