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Archive for the ‘Dr. James Thomas’ Category

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Harry_Potter_unofficial_guidebooks

How many of these books have you read? I have read most (but not all) of them and have met several of the authors, including John Granger, Travis Prinzi, Connie Neal, Logospilgrim, Eryn Pyne, Ed Kern, James W. Thomas, George Beahm, Steve Vander Ark, and Melissa Anelli. Oh, yeah. I wrote one of the books on the list also. ūüėČ

Essays and Literary CritiquesEdit Essays and Literary Critiques section

These include book analysis, studies, theories, philosophy, essay compilations, and literary criticisms.

Guides, Folklore, MythologyEdit Guides, Folklore, Mythology section

Guides and facts based in the book series. Includes encyclopedic books.

Franchise and FandomEdit Franchise and Fandom section

Books based on the sucess of the actual series, franchise, and fandom.

OthersEdit Others section

Miscellaneous books that don’t fall into other categories.

Trivia and FunEdit Trivia and Fun section

J.K. RowlingEdit J.K. Rowling section

 

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Here’s my report on Infinitus 2010, the largest convention in the history of the Harry Potter fandom. It was held July 15-18 at the beautiful Royal Pacific Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.¬†This report is an account of my personal experience there and is by no means all-encompassing. There were about nine academic programming tracks happening simultaneously, and it would therefore be impossible for me to experience all that this convention had to offer without a time-turner! ūüėČ

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1:30 p.m. I attended the Welcoming Feast, where it was announced that 1,700 fans had gone through registration thus far, and that number would probably increase by tomorrow.

3:00 p.m. After browsing the Common Room, Art Gallery, and Vendor’s Room, I returned to the Common Room for the Marauder’s Meet-Up, which featured a lively discussion of the canon and fanon lives of Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter, Lily Evans, and Severus Snape. Just before the¬†Marauder’s discussion¬†I finally met one of my favorite bloggers in person, Hanako M. Ricks (“hmrpotter”).¬†Please¬†read my blogroll for links to her “Confessions of a Grown-up Fangirl” and “Hollywood News” Harry Potter blogs. Hanako is awesome!

4:00 p.m. I went to a great presentation by author Connie Neal entitled “How the Muggle Media Mishandles Harry Potter,” in which Connie gave examples of all of the Rita Skeeter-worthy articles that were published about J. K. Rowling after the Harry Potter author had a bit of a wardrobe mishap. Rather than focusing on what Rowling had to say about the Harry Potter series’ Christian imagery, the muggle media¬†tried to create a scandal by publishing¬†sensationalist articles about Rowling accompanied by embarassing photographs. Connie Neal is the author of What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter? (2001), The Gospel According to Harry Potter (2002/2008), and Wizards, Wardrobes, and Wookies (2007).

5:00 p.m. I enjoyed conversing with Connie Neal, Logospilgrim, and David Gras¬†after¬†Connie’s presentation ended. Connie autographed my program. (I have all of her Harry Potter books, but didn’t have them with me.) It was so nice to finally meet Logospilgrim in person. She is a very sweet person, and soft-spoken, as I imagined she would be. The Quiet Professor has written a few books about Orthodox Christianity and Severus Snape, which you can read about on her site at¬†www.logospilgrim.com. Fellow presenter David Gras is also a Christian Harry Potter fan. I met him and his wife for the first time at Portus 2008, and it was really nice seeing them again.

6:00 p.m. Valerie Frankel¬†was signing copies of her Harry Potter parody novel, Henry Potty and the Pet Rock,¬†at the Craft Faire. (See www.HarryPotterParody.com for more about Valerie Frankel’s parody books.) She graciously offered to share her author table with me, and I was glad to accept her offer because my official book signing time was scheduled¬†on the last day of formal¬†programming, opposite the presentation of A Very Potter Sequel. (I knew that most of the Infinitus attendees would be viewing that. It’s incredibly popular.) Anyway, I enjoyed sitting at the Craft Faire with Valerie. The best part was when Percy Weasley himself,¬†Chris Rankin, walked in unannounced and hung out with the fans. He even autographed my Infinitus program! ūüôā The wizard rock concert was going on during all this, so I missed most of it. However I did take a break to visit the wrock merchandise tables to buy a few CDs, including “Muggle Relations” by The Ministry of Magic, “BMiN/E” by ALL CAPS, which includes a great Ron/Hermione song (“Lumos Flies”), and the Remus Lupins dropcard EP, ALL ACCESS: The Next Great Adventure. I really like “Don’t Let the Muggles Get You Down” on that EP.

Friday, July, 16, 2010

9:00 a.m. I browsed the Vendor’s Room, Fandom Museum, and Common Room again. I¬†usually¬†make a daily visit to the Common Room to check the notice boards and to pick up fliers, business cards, etc. from the freebie table. I also put business cards and bookmarks on the freebie table each day to promote my book as well as that of some of my author friends who were not able to attend Infinitus, such as J. W. Braun and M. B. Weston.

10:30 a.m. I attended John Granger’s fascinating lecture “The Seven Literary Keys to Unlocking Harry Potter,” which covered such topics as literary alchemy, story setting, postmodern themes, the hero’s journey, allegorical satire, Christian symbolism, and narrative misdirection. John’s presentation was great, as always. ūüôā¬†Visit his blog at www.hogwartsprofessor.com to read his Infinitus convention report when you have the chance.

I had lunch with my Mom at Emeril’s today. The menu offered “Sorcerer’s Starters,” “Magical Main Courses” (I had the Dragon Burger, lol!), and “Potions.” My potion of choice was sweet tea.

2:30 p.m.¬†I attended another wonderful John Granger presentation, “The Historical Hidden Key to Harry Potter: Why Witches and Wizards Went Underground After the English Civil War.” After the presentation, I bought a copy of the Potter Pundits book Harry Potter Smart Talk, which John autographed for me.

4:30 p.m.¬† I went to Logospilgrim’s talk, “Severus Snape, Jedi Master,” which combined two of my geeky obsessions, Harry Potter and Star Wars. ūüôā

After supper I attended one of the most ambitious fandom projects I’ve ever seen, Lena Gabrielle’s Deathly Hallows musical, The Final Battle. Lena is quite a talented composer, and if you didn’t get to see this epic musical at Infinitus, look for it on YouTube in August. The CD “Love Will Prevail: Songs from the Final Battle” is quite good, especially Lena’s duet with Christian Caldeira of Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls. On the CD, Lena sings the part of Lily and Christian sings¬†the part of¬†Severus Snape on “The Prince’s Tale.” It is really beautiful and sung¬†with so much emotion.¬†Bravo! In the staged musical there were some really awesome moments that got huge cheers from the audience, such as Neville¬†telling off¬†Voldemort (and killing Nagini) and all of the awesome Ron/Hermione kisses. (Yes, there were kisses, plural.) I loved Ron and Hermione’s love duet “Never Letting You Go,” especially when Harry interrupts the song with “Oi! There’s a war going on here!”¬†That bit was hilarious.¬†Bellatrix brought the house down with a chorus of singing and dancing¬†dark wizards on¬†“Death Eaters Rejoice!” It was also great fun to see the Leaky Cauldron’s Melissa Anelli as Augusta Longbottom and John Noe as John Dawlish. Their fight scene got a huge laugh from the audience.¬†John Noe also played the part of Percy Weasley. No pressure with Chris Rankin in attendance, right John?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

10:00 a.m. I went to hear David Gras’ presentation “Harry Potter: A Symbol of the Infinite Power of Courage and Love” which¬†included a great group discussion session. David also mentioned some of the similarities between Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins, which is a topic that is of great interest to me. I wrote quite a lot about that in my book, The Lord of the Hallows, and¬†I appreciated David’s comparison of both¬†Harry and Frodo’s sufferings to the¬†story of Christ’s Passion.

11:00 a.m. Connie Neal’s “Holidays in the Harry Potter Books: the Significance of Halloween, Christmas, and Easter” was really outstanding. She gave numerous examples of Biblical allusions in all seven Harry Potter books,¬†with emphasis on the stories of Christmas and Easter. I really loved this presentation.

1:30 p.m. I was in the audience for “The Potter Pundits Live Onstage at Infinitus” featuring Travis Prinzi, John Granger, and James W. Thomas. I had met both Travis and James at Portus two years ago, and it was great seeing them again. (I met John Granger for the first time at Azkatraz last year.) Great news! Travis Prinzi is currently editing his second Hog’s Head¬†Conversations book, James W. Thomas is writing his second book on Harry Potter entitled Rowling Revisited, and John Granger said he’s updating Unlocking Harry Potter. The Potter Pundits were awesome, as always.

4:00 p.m. I heard most of Travis Prinzi’s excellent “Severus Snape is a Fiery Snake,” much of which¬†I was familiar with from reading Travis’s wonderful book,¬†Harry Potter & Imagination.¬†I was sorry that I had to leave a few minutes before it was over to get ready for the final presentation….

5:00 p.m. This was the last hour of formal programming. “Sneaking Past the Watchful Dragons: Christian Symbolism and Themes in Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia” was presented by Denise Roper. (That’s me!) Yeah, I had to follow Connie Neal, Logospilgrim,¬†John Granger, David Gras, James Thomas, and Travis Prinzi. No sweat, right? ūüėČ The presentation actually went rather well.¬†From the Infinitus program book: “Both J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis have been recognized as great Christian authors of fantasy literature. In this presentation, the themes of Good vs. Evil, the Immortality of the Soul, Self-Sacrificial Love, Death, Resurrection, and Making the Choice to Believe are examined in the light of both authors’ profession of the Christian faith. the influence of the Narnian books on Harry’s adventures will be discussed in detail, including the symbolism of the lion, serpent, eagle, raven, badger, unicorn, stag, phoenix, centaur, dog, werewolf, and much more.” Whew! I covered as much of that as I could in an hour. This was followed by a book signing in the vendor’s room. Travis’s last presentation as well as my lecture and book signing were scheduled opposite the musical A Very Potter Sequel, which was a huge hit at Infinitus. I was happy that Travis and I actually had an audience for our presentations in spite of the fact that we had to compete with such a huge fandom event.¬†After supper I realized that I missed all of AVPS and would have to watch it later on YouTube. Oh well.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

7:00 a.m. I went to Mass at the Church of the Holy Family in Orlando.

9:00 a.m. I visited briefly with Travis Prinzi, and then later, Connie Neal.

9:30 a.m. I went to the “Weasley Is Our King!” meet-up that Hanako invited me to attend. It was fun to talk about Ron and all of the other Weasleys at this last event before the leaving feast.

10:30 a.m. brunch/leaving feast.

11:00 a.m. Parselmouths wrock concert. After the feast, I had time to visit with David Gras, Erin Pyne (of the wrock band House of Black & also an author of books about the Harry Potter fandom), Logospilgrim, and many others. I talked with Kristina Horner of the Parselmouths, then later Luke Conard of Ministry of Magic. I just wanted to tell¬†Kristina and Luke¬†how much I enjoy their band, ALL CAPS. I’m also a huge Ministry of Magic fan. I also spoke briefly with Alex Carpenter of The Remus Lupins (another wrock band that I enjoy), and he invited me to their (then) upcoming concert in New Orleans. Jason Munday of Ministry of Magic was with him; he has a solo act called Skyway Flyer, which is quite good. Since Skyway Flyer would be opening for the Remus Lupins on tour, that was a wrock concert that I knew I would want to see. I’ll write another blog post later about the wrock concerts I attended in New Orleans after Infinitus.

My Mom and I along with many other Infinitus attendees spent the afternoon at Universal’s Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, a spectacular ending to a spectacular event. Well done, Infinitus!

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The Infinitus 2010 Formal Programming Schedule has been posted at www.infinitus2010.org. Here are just a few of the presentations that I hope to attend:

Thursday, July 15

4:00 Our Own Rita Skeeter: Muggle Media Mishandles HP (Connie Neal)

Friday, July 16

9:00 Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-grade Alchemist? (Deborah Hunt)

10:30 The Seven Literary Keys to Unlocking Harry Potter (John Granger)

2:30 The Histroical Hidden Key to Harry Potter (John Granger)

3:30 Sacrificing to Save: Love, Loss, and Redemption for Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore (Emily Honey)

4:30 Severus Snape, Jedi Master (Logospilgrim)

Saturday, July 17

10:00 Harry Potter: A Symbol of the Infinite Power of Courage and Love (David Gras)

11:00 Significance of Holidays in HP: Halloween, Christmas, and Easter (Connie Neal)

1:30 The Potter Pundits (Travis Prinzi, James Thomas, and John Granger)

4:00 Severus Snape is a Fiery Snake: How a Slytherin Became the Bravest Hero (Travis Prinzi)

5:00 Sneaking Past the Watchful Dragons: Christian Themes in Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia (Denise Roper)

My presentataion is scheduled during the very last hour of the last day of formal programming.¬†I don’t know yet when my book signings for The Lord of the Hallows will be, but if you want to buy a copy, please visit www.outskirtspress.com/thelordofthehallows or visit the sidebar to get information on how to obtain a signed copy from me.

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I did my first book signings for The Lord of the Hallows at AZKATRAZ 2009 in San Francisco this past July. When I arrived at the convention, I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that I would be doing a couple of author readings in addition to my regularly scheduled presentation as  part of the formal programming. The authors I met at the convention included Melissa Anelli (author of Harry, A History and webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron fansite), John Granger (the Hogwarts Professor himself!), Travis Prinzi (author of Harry Potter & Imagination), Valerie Frankel (author of two Harry Potter parodies), and Dr. James Thomas (author of Re-Potting Harry Potter). Meeting John Granger was fantastic  because I am a huge fan of his work, and I was truly flattered that Travis Prinzi, Valerie Frankel, and Dr. James Thomas bought my book. The presentations and the signings were a great success. I want to thank all of the fans who bought my book and gave me such positive feedback.

I am known as PhoenixWeasley at MyLeaky, the social networking site for Harry Potter fans over at www.the-leaky-cauldron.org. Here are some of the positive comments I have received from the Harry Potter fans at MyLeaky who have read the book:

“Greetings, Phoenix. I got your book today and have started reading it. It is very scholarly and very interesting. Well done!!!”–from FrescaROAR

“I am now reading the book and¬†I love it. There are a lot of things that I hadn’t picked up on or hadn’t fully understood [about the Harry Potter series]… And, it is so cool to have such an interesting, in-depth positive look at Harry Potter… I love this book. :)”–from Moose_Star¬†

“I’d love to someday see a second edition, more set up as a textbook, or a trade book, with full academic citation…Thanks for this, Phoenix Weasley!!!”–from JohannMdlAmerica

“I just finished reading your book–delightful. Broad in coverage yet concise. Thanks.”–from wordsaremagic

With regards to the quotations from 1 Corinthians 15:26 and Matthew 6:21 in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: “There has been a lot of debate by literary scholars about what these two passages mean in the context of Deathly Hallows. If you want to follow up on that, I recommend two books, The Lord of the Hallows by Denise Roper and How Harry Cast His Spell by John Granger.”–another quote from wordsaremagic.

These comments really made my day! I would like to sincerely thank  all of the fans at MyLeaky who have shown so much support for my efforts as a writer.

I have a number of book signings coming up in my home state of Louisiana. Here’s what I have scheduled so far:

Saturday, September 12, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.¬†at “Art After Dark,” located at the Whitney Bank building in downtown Houma.

Saturday, September 26, 2009, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Cherry Books, located at 1054 Canal Boulevard in Thibodaux.

Saturday, November 28, 2009, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The Little Flower Bookstore, located at 674 Range Avenue in Denham Springs.

I will update this blog with additional book signing information as I receive it. On Wednesday September 9, 2009, the Houma Daily Courier and Thibodaux Daily Comet¬†published a feature article on my book.¬†I’d like to thank Laura McKnight for interviewing me. She did a great job! ūüôā

Of course, many of the people reading this blog are not able to attend the book signings. The Lord of the Hallows is always available at www.outskirtspress.com/thelordofthehallows if you wish to purchase it online.

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