Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter


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About the Book

Potterversity: Essays Exploring the World of Harry Potter presents a written companion to the popular, “Hermione-Approved” MuggleNet podcast by the same name. Selected from the top Potter Studies scholars in the field, the diverse authors in the volume provide a range of interpretations of wizarding world stories. Essays include analysis of genre conventions, literary and religious symbolism, the role of games in the series, pedagogical approaches, and politically challenging issues like U.S. race relations, colonialism, and gender and sexuality—including direct attention to J.K. Rowling’s controversial statements about trans people.

Grouped into the sections “Occult Knowledge,” “Ancient Magic,” “A Question of Character,” “Self and Other,” “Playing Potter,” and “Teaching, the Hogwarts Way,” partnered essays precede transcripts of podcast conversations, led by the hosts of Potterversity. The book’s essays and conversations aim to engage not only the mind but the spirit as well—the emotional, personal, and moral responses the Potterverse has evoked in so many people around the world. Fundamentally, this book demonstrates that the characters, stories, and situations of the magical realm promote thinking that helps us navigate our more mundane but no less dangerous world. Perhaps even more importantly, they help us to recognize the magic amid our everyday Muggle realities.

About the Author(s)

Kathryn N. McDaniel is McCoy Professor of History at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, and specializes in intersections of history and popular culture. She co-hosts Potterversity: A Potter Studies Podcast.

Emily Strand teaches comparative religion and cultural competence courses at Mt. Carmel College in Columbus, Ohio. She co-hosts the podcasts Potterversity and Meet Father Rivers.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathryn N. McDaniel and Emily Strand

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284 pages
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9053-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5127-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Your Potterversity Orientation
Kathryn N. McDaniel and Emily Strand 1

Occult Knowledge
Good Men and Monsters: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Harry Potter
Beatrice Groves 9
Dark Arts and Secret Histories: Investigating Dark Academia
Amy H. Sturgis 26
Conversation: Occult Knowledge 43

Ancient Magic
Here Be Dragons and Phoenixes: A Thematic Direction for the Fantastic Beasts Series
Lana A. Whited 49
The Real Magic of Christmas in Harry Potter
Emily Strand 67
Conversation: Ancient Magic 85

A Question of Character
Padfoot Revelio! The Life and Love of Sirius Black
Emma Nicholson 89
The Weasley Witches: From Snitches to Stitches to “­Not-My-Daughter-You-Bitches”
Louise M. Freeman 107
Arthur Weasley and the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts
Kathryn N. McDaniel 121
Conversation: A Question of Character 136

Self and Others
The Problem with Loving Enemies: Kindness and Oppression in “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”
Travis Prinzi 143
Uncle Remus’s Shack: Tokenism in the Wizarding World
­Mark-Anthony Lewis 158
Conversation: Self and Others 173

Playing Potter
It’s All Fun and Games Until…: Leisurely and Competitive Pursuits in Harry Potter and Chivalric Romance
Laurie Beckoff 179
Gamifying the Harry Potter Studies Classroom
Tison Pugh 193
Conversation: Playing Potter 210

Teaching, the Hogwarts Way
Dumbledorisms: The Idiosyncratic Style of a Hogwarts Headmaster
M’Balia Thomas 215
Hem Hem… I Take Umbridge with Bigotry: Using the ­Witch-in-Pink to Counter Oppression
Brent A. Satterly 230
Conversation: Teaching, the Hogwarts Way 247

Before the Dismissal Bell: Closing Thoughts
Kathryn N. McDaniel 253
Bibliography 255
About the Contributors 269
Index 273

Book Reviews & Awards

“This collection takes a unique and exciting approach that is new to academic studies of Harry Potter. Every one of the essays taught me something new. This book is an extremely valuable contribution to the field.”—Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, associate professor emerita, The Ohio State University at Lima