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Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ Category

I’ll be leaving shortly for a midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, but before I go I wanted to post this.

One of my favorite tracks from the CD of Alexandre Desplat’s score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is “Ron’s Speech.” You can listen to it here:

When the “Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets” scene was leaked on YouTube, I’ll admit I couldn’t resist watching it. I noticed that “Ron’s Speech” is the basis for the musical theme which accompanies their long-awaited kiss. Listen to it at this link, but only if you want to be spoiled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KrbLB6MN38&feature=player_embedded

You won’t hear the complete theme, but a shorter variation of it. The tempo and rhythm have been altered, but it is definitely based on “Ron’s Speech.” Desplat does what John Williams was famous for writing in his highly-acclaimed Star Wars scores. He is using a shorter variant of a complete theme as a leitmotif. (This German musical term refers to a recurring melody, chord progression, or chord which is associated with a particular person, place, or idea in an opera, or in this case, a film score. You will encounter this term if you study the music of the German Romantic period composer Richard Wagner, who was the undisputed master of the sublime use of leitmotifs in his music dramas.) I have listened to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 soundtrack CD, and I didn’t hear many other new examples of this theme, but I will be listening for it at the cinema tonight. There is one example of it on the CD that I’ll mention later in this blog post, which was so subtle that I missed it the first time I heard it. The music for the Ron and Hermione kissing scene wasn’t on the new DH2 CD, so I am wondering what other musical surprises are in store for us tonight. If you haven’t listened to the new soundtrack CD yet, I can honestly say I was very impressed with it. Desplat does use variations of John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” most effectively throughout the score, as well as bringing back some of the more memorable themes he composed for DH1. Of the new melodies Desplat introduces, Lily’s Theme is one of the most haunting. Listen for it during Severus’ death scene (“Snape’s Demise” on the CD) and at other key moments in which Lily’s love plays an important role, such as during the “Resurrection Stone” scene. In this audio example, you will hear the theme introduced by a lone female vocalist, followed by a texturally fuller presentation of the theme by the string section. The female vocal rendition reminds me of plainchant, specifically the chants composed by the German saint and mystic, St. Hildegard von Bingen, a great female composer of the Medieval Period.

Listen for a pianissimo variant of “Hedwig’s Theme” and and a vocalization of “Lily’s Theme” during the track called “Snape’s Demise.”

This track is “Harry’s Sacrifice.” You will hear the “heroic” thematic material that Desplat introduced at the very beginning Deathly Hallows Part One and fragments of “Hedwig’s Theme,” which in my opinion ought to be renamed “Harry’s Theme” because that is how it has functioned throughout the entire film series. What stunned me the most about it is that during this track you hear a very subtle and sorrowful rendition of the Ron/Hermione love theme at the beginning and again, starting around 1:13. Pure genius!

Another one of my favorite tracks on the new CD is “Dragon Flight” in which you can hear a bold statement of “Hedwig’s Theme” made by the trumpet section, which is followed by a absolutely triumphal presentation of Lily’s Theme by the violins. This one gave me the chills! 🙂

I may have more to say about the score after I have seen the film. Now I’m off to the Midnight screening!

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Here’s a quote from an article over at The Film Pilgrim that I thought many of you would enjoy. Link:  http://www.thefilmpilgrim.com/features/beastly-couples/3374. Besides my Harry Potter favorite couple, Ron and Hermione, the article mentions another favorite pairing of mine, Han Solo and Princess Leia from the Star Wars saga. The two couples have a great deal in common: the male is sarcastic, brave, witty, and a loyal friend to the saga’s main hero. The female is bossy, intelligent, courageous, outspoken, and not afraid to tell off the stubborn male when he is being a prat. Remember when Leia called Han a “scruffy-looking nerf herder”? Or when Hermione told Ron that he has the “emotional range of a teaspoon”? They bicker constantly, make each other jealous, and even have some heated arguments, but all of that is to hide their true feelings for one another.

Ron and Hermione, The Harry Potter Saga

“I heard it. A voice. Your voice, Hermione. You said my name. Just my name. Like a whisper. So I took it, clicked it and this tiny ball of light appeared. And I knew. It flew towards me, the ball of light, right through my chest and straight through me. Right here… and I knew it was going to take me where I needed to go.”

Yup. Ron and Hermione, one of the oddest couples to grace the silver screen. She’s bookish, highly logical and (let’s face it) a bit of a killjoy. He’s… well, he’s the complete opposite. Fans of the books have known these two were destined to be since forever, whereas fans of the film probably only realised it around movie number four, The Goblet Of Fire, where Ron gets just a little too jealous of Hermione’s date to the ball. And has a little too much of a jaw-drop moment when he sees her “transformed” into a beauty… she basically did her hair, added a little more eye makeup and stuck a dress on, but he is a boy, after all. Let’s give him credit for noticing at all.

Still not officially together, the last movie saw Ron revealing how Hermione has touched his heart, as well as a little sneaky handholding, a world of jealousy and a testosterone-fuelled rescue from the demented Bellatrix Lestrange. Will they finally lock lips in the final installment later this year? Erm, they’d better. It’s one of the slowest burning love affairs to ever captivate audiences across the globe… and we’re stoked on seeing some major fireworks when the pair finally get it on.

I think that the quote “one of the slowest burning love affairs to ever captivate audiences across the globe” sums it up rather nicely. 🙂

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Here’s a lovely Ron/Hermione fan video of the song “Running Back to You” that was made by Luthien3333 on YouTube. Enjoy!

In other news, I just opened an Etsy shop to sell my old Star Wars fanzines. (Before there was an internet, people published their fanfiction and fanart in spiral-bound booklets called zines, which were sold at science fiction conventions and through the mail.) If you know anyone who likes Star Wars fanfiction, tell them about my little store, which can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/PhoenixWeasley. Thanks!

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Quite a few of my favorite actors and actresses have made Forbes’ list of top on-screen couples. Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) from Harry Potter came in first place!

Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) and Liv Tyler (Arwen) from The Lord of the Rings came in second.

The list also included Orlando Bloom (Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann) from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I particularly liked this scene in PotC 3:

Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) and Natalie Portman (Padme’ Amidala) from Star Wars were also chosen.

Find out who else made the list right here: http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/06/harry-potter-lord-rings-titanic-business-entertainment-top-on-screen-couples.html Who did you like on this list? Comments are welcome. 🙂

UPDATE: Here’s another link that is related to this discussion: http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2011/01/07/twilight-kristen-stewart-robert-pattinson-money/#276996-0-010711_forbes_couples_potter_XXXX. Please vote for Ron and Hermione!

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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! 😉

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! 🙂 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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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? 😉 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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I had lots of fun at the second annual Con du Lac Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, which was held at the Lake Charles Civic Center on June 12-13, 2010. I gave two Harry-Potter themed presentations at the event. The first was at 12:00 noon on Saturday in the Mystic Realm Room. It was called “Sneaking Past the Watchful Dragons: Christian Themes in Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia.” The second presentation was at 12:00 noon on Sunday in Room 23: “Hallows, Hobbits, and Horcruxes: The Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling.” I also had an author table at the convention to sign copies of my book The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.
 
                                                     

Here I am holding a copy of the book.

If you wanted to buy the book at Con du Lac and missed your opportunity, please see the sidebar for a link to my online bookstore, Silver Unicorn Books, and a link to the publisher’s website.

I met several other authors at this convention. I’m including links in this post if you are interested in finding out more about their works.

Author Judith Leger writes romance novels which include fantasy elements such as elves, dragons, and magic. Her website can be found at www.judithleger.weebly.com.

Science fiction writer Craig Callais, a native of my hometown of Houma, Louisiana, has published his first novel entitled Warlord: The Ordeal, which is available at www.amazon.com. Here’s a photo of Craig at his author table:

Science Fiction Author Craig Callais

 D. B. Grady of Baton Rouge has published his first science fiction novel, a murder mystery set on Mars. It’s called Red Planet Noir. You can visit http://www.dbgrady.com to learn more.

Author D. B. Grady

David Grady has a great sense of humor. It was his idea that various costumed sci-fi and fantasy characters pose for his series of photos called “Down and Out in Con du Lac.” lol! 🙂

D. B. Grady and my friend Wayne (Anakin Skywalker) are "Down and Out in Con du Lac."

D. B. Grady is "Down and Out in Con du Lac" with Hermione (that's me!), a Klingon, and Batman.

My friend Randy Richards, author of Dreadmire, took this one. As you could see we had a hard time keeping a straight face for the "Down and Out" photos.

Don’t let the photos deceive you. We were having a good time! 🙂

Author M. B. Weston was also at the convention promoting her fantasy series about angelic warfare called The Elysian Chronicles. I’ve read the first book A Prophecy Forgotten, and I’m currently reading the second book Out of the Shadows. If you like military fiction and epic fantasy, this series may appeal to you. Visit www.elysianchronicles.com to learn more. Michelle Weston is a non-denominational Christian author who is a huge fan of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and J. K. Rowling, so you know we got along really well. Michelle is also a terrific guest speaker and panelist. She and her assistant Rachel Stevens were having fun at the convention:

Author M. B. Weston and Rachel Stevens

M. B. Weston and her assistant at the Elysian Chronicles table.

Louisiana’s 501st Legion, the Bast Alpha Squadron, is the New Orleans-based chapter of the international organization. They are Star Wars costumers who do lots of charity work in our state and have a great time while doing it. The 501st had a fan table along with the Baton Rouge-based Star Wars club Red Stick Rebellion (of which I am a member). Here are some photos of their table.

Star Wars fan table

                                      

The Bast Alpha Squadron’s mascot is an alligator–how appropriate for south Louisiana!

 

My friends Karen and Wayne pose for a photos as Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker.

 Finally, I am posting a photo of an art print that I received from Jean Alexander. Jean is a talented artist that I met at ImagiCon in Birminghmam, Alabama last month. I’ve already blogged about the Snape painting that she did at ImagiCon. This is an art print of the first painting of Severus Snape that she did, and it’s my favorite of the two. 🙂

“Severus Snape” by Jean Alexander

 My next book signing will be June 26 at a Writers Conference in Ponchatoula, which will be followed by two convention appearances in July: MythCon 41 in Dallas and Infinitus 2010 in Orlando. Please look at the sidebar for link to the Mythopoeic Society’s website to find out more about MythCon 41. You will also find a link to the Infinitus 2010 website there as well.

Several of the authors that I met this weekend at Con du Lac  are on Twitter. I’m at www.twitter.com/DeniseRoper. You can also find David Grady at www.twitter.com/dbgrady. Michelle Weston is at www.twitter.com/mbweston. And Judith Leger is can be found at www.twitter.com/judithleger.

I recently added a link to the Imagicopter website to the sidebar of this blog. Imagicopter is an organization that promotes various writers and their works. I am one of their newest members. Visit their site to find out more about Imagicopter’s upcoming events.

 

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ImagiCon was an enjoyable multi-fandom science fiction and fantasy convention that I attended in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday, May 21 through Sunday, May 23, 2010. This is a description of the highlights of my ImagiCon experience.

Friday, May 21. Upon arriving at the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham, I met Hugo-award winning science fiction author Timothy Zahn, best known for his novels set in the Star Wars universe. He was very friendly, kind, humble, and polite; I would definitely say that he is one of the nicest authors I have ever met. He autographed my copy of Vision of the Future, which is one of my all-time favorite Star Wars novels, and he posed for a few photos with me. It was a pleasure to meet him. 🙂

My autographed copy of Vision of the Future

I took quite a few photos of the costumers at the convention, including members of the Star Wars costuming groups, the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion, dressed as Stormtroopers, Boba Fett, Princess Leia, and various Mandalorians. I also snapped photos of superhero costumers Green Lantern and Spider-Man.  In addition, I got some great shots of the posters in the Star Wars panel room and of a multitude of Star Wars collectibles in the vendor’s room.

The Harry Potter Tri-Wizard Ball was where I saw the best costumes from the wizarding world, including various Hogwarts students, Bellatrix Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy, and Professor Trelawney. I went dressed as Hermione Granger, of course. 😉 The party also included lots of Steampunk costumers, a Jedi couple, and few pirates. You just can’t have a party without pirates. (“Where’s the rum?”)

Saturday, May 22. I wore my Gryffindor robes again for Saturday’s many adventures, which included meeting many more costumers from around the “galaxy” of Alabama. I took many more photos of these creative fans in costume. There were several Starfleet officers, pointy-eared Vulcans, fierce Klingons, funny Ghostbusters, and young Hogwarts students. The superheroes in attendance included DC Comics’ Green Arrow, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, and Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, and Ms. Marvel. One of my favorite costumes was a Little Red Riding Hood, who was toting a rather large gun in her little wicker basket, presumably used to shoot the Big Bad Wolf on the way to Grandma’s house. In addition to the usual Star Wars Mandalorians, there was a Steampunk version of Boba Fett. Other Star Wars characters I met included a Jedi Knight, a Rebel Alliance X-Wing Pilot, and an Imperial officer who volunteered to choke himself for me. (Why isn’t Darth Vader around when you need him?)

Someone in Vader's fleet just got a promotion...

The Han Solo I met was also a Harry Potter fan. His little daughters were dressed as Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood. (Who knew? And does Princess Leia know about these offspring?) I also met a Mara Jade and as soon as she arrived at the con I told her where to find Timothy Zahn’s author table. It’s always kinda surreal when a character gets to meet her creator. 😉

The Star Wars panel Q&A with Timothy Zahn was fascinating. I asked him to talk about my favorite Star Wars couple–Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker, of course. I wanted to know who decided that they would end up together and when the decision was made. I was wondering if it was Zahn’s idea or Lucasfilm’s, and I added that Star Wars fans were writing Luke/Mara fanfics right after the Thrawn Trilogy was published in the early 1990s. Timothy Zahn said that he made the decision to have them become a couple back in 1993. He also wanted to end the war with the Empire, and if Lucasfilm wouldn’t give him those two things, then he would not write for them anymore. He got what he wanted, and I applaud him for standing up to Lucasfilm like that. Zahn rocks! Anyway, this panel made me appreciate my autographed copy of Vision of the Future even more. 🙂

The Harry Potter Books vs. Movies panel discussion was led by Denise Eichhorn, Jean Alexander, and myself. We got really great audience participation and had a wonderful discussion. The time we had just flew by, and I think all the panelists and the audience members had a great time. One topic that we covered was the casting choices made for Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Hagrid, Snape, Sirius, etc. In general, Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore was not well-liked, but Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley and Alan Rickman as Severus Snape were much-loved by the fans indeed. We also talked about scenes from the books which were omitted from the films, and how some of the omissions were detrimental to the plot of Prisoner of Azkaban. We had so much more to discuss, we could have gone on for another hour.

Artwork for Whomping Willow Harry Potter Programming Track by Jean Alexander

Jean Alexander, I discovered, is a very gifted artist. We watched her paint a portrait of Severus Snape in acrylics on a huge canvas coated with black gesso. She really captured the emotions of anguish, sorrow, and regret in Severus’ facial expression, especially in the areas of his eyes and mouth. I viewed more of her Star Wars and Harry Potter artwork in the fanart gallery on the second floor, and later looked at more samples of her work online at www.artworksbyjean.com. She is incredibly talented!

Severus Snape by Jean Alexander

On Saturday I also met fantasy author M. B. Weston. I bought a copy of her second novel, Out of the Shadows, and she autographed it for me. She is also a very nice person and a great public speaker. She bought a copy of The Lord of the Hallows from me on Sunday, much to my delight. M. B. Weston is a Christian and a fan of Harry Potter, Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, etc., so I think she will enjoy my book. She told me she does a Bible study using Harry Potter to teach the lessons. If you are curious about her fantasy novels, visit www.elysianchronicles.com.

Sunday, May 23. I took some photos of the Harry Potter panel room, which was conveniently located next to the Star Wars room. I loved that fact! 🙂 My favorite photos of the day were of the 501st Legion.

Most LSU fans think that Alabama is part of the Evil Empire. 😉

 The banner on their fan table read: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Bama, and one of the Stormtroopers posed for me holding a cardboard sign which read “MY FAMILY WAS KILLED ON THE DEATH STAR.” Gee, is everybody in the Bama 501st a commedian? I loved those guys. 🙂

Bama 501st Legion, you rock!

The very last event for me, which took place just before the Harry Potter programming track ended, was my presentation, “The Lord of the Hallows: J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling as Sub-creators of Christian Myth.” The ladies from the Harry Potter and Star Wars panel rooms who were helping me to set up were having some technical difficulties with my laptop connecting with the huge widescreen TV monitor, but never fear, Timothy Zahn came to my rescue. He was preparing to do another panel in the Star Wars room next door, heard that we were having trouble with my old laptop, and then he came in the Harry Potter room and fixed the problem right away. What a guy! 🙂 Anyway, my lecture was a success. I spoke on the surface similarities between The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series, the similarities between Sauron’s Ring of Power and Voldemort’s Horcruxes, the effects on sin upon the immortal soul in the fiction of Tolkien and Rowling, the theme of death in both narratives, Frodo and Harry as Christ figures, Tolkien’s and Rowling’s similar views on the eternal nature of evil, and Tolkien’s “eucatastrophe” and where it occurs in Return of the King and  in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I also explained how an understanding of why the Biblical verses from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 were quoted  by Rowling in the seventh Harry Potter book.  One man who heard it said it was the best event in the entire convention, and two people told me when it was over that it made them tear up a few times. I was really touched by these admissions.  

I am back home in Louisiana today. Comments are welcome!

EDIT: I have posted some photos I took at ImagiCon at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=12635&id=110146322349729&saved#!/pages/The-Lord-of-the-Hallows/110146322349729. Please join The Lord of the Hallows on Facebook if you haven’t already.

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