Posted in author bio

Author Bio: Jane Austen

Jane Austen is probably one of the most loved author of all times, in my opinion.  Her novels have delight readers of all ages for quite some time.  But what do we know of her. 

 

    Jane Austen was born December 16, 1775 in Stevenson, Hampshire.  Her father was a clergyman named George Austen and her mother’s name was Cassandra nee Leigh.  She had five brothers and one sister.  She was quite well educated for a woman of her time and was encouraged to write by her family.  She started her first novel when she was fourteen years old.  

    The only love interests she is known to have were Tom Lefroy and Harris Bigg-Wither, from whom she received a marriage proposal.  She accepted him initially only to refuse him the next day.

    She spent approximately 4 years living in Bath when her father retired.  She disliked the fashionable water hole which can be seen in the attitude of Anne Elliot inPersuasion.  Her father died in 1805 and she, her mother, and sister ended up living in Southampton for a small period of time before moving to Chawton Cottage.  It was at Chawton that she wrote her later novels.  

    She died July 18, 1817 from what is now believed to be Addison’s Disease.  

 

    During the time in which she lived it was common for female authors to write anonymously.  Her books are considered a novel of manners.  Most deal with limited circles in the country, though she did satirize the gothic horror genre in Northanger Abbey.  Although her works were written during what was known as the Romantic period her works lack the rampant passion that characterize books of that time.  In fact, excessive Romantic notions are portrayed as being dangerous like Marianne inSense & Sensibility being overcome by a putrid fever due to the excesses of her ardour for Wiloughby.  Her work though not widely circulated was praised by such greats as Sir Walter Scott and Samuel Coleridge.  Interestingly enough Charlotte Bronte didn’t like her work describing it as:


Anything like warmth or enthusiasm, anything energetic, poignant, heartfelt, is utterly out of place in commending these works: all such demonstrations the authoress would have met with a well-bred sneer, would have calmly scorned as ‘outré’ or extravagant. She does her business of delineating the surface of the lives of genteel English people curiously well. There is a Chinese fidelity, a miniature delicacy, in the painting. She ruffles her reader by nothing vehement, disturbs him with nothing profound. The passions are perfectly unknown to her: she rejects even a speaking acquaintance with that stormy sisterhood… What sees keenly, speaks aptly, moves flexibly, it suits her to study: but what throbs fast and full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through, what is the unseen seat of life and the sentient target of death—this Miss Austen ignores… Jane Austen was a complete and most sensible lady, but a very incomplete and rather insensible (not senseless) woman, if this is heresy—I cannot help it.”

 

Sounds like jealously to me!!!  Ah women!  Cuz let’s face it aside from Jane Eyre, does anyone know what else Charlotte Bronte wrote?  I mean you don’t see anyone killing themselves to turn Jane Eyre into a feature length film.  However, I digress.  Charlotte will have her day- just not this day.

 

Anyway, some of Jane Austen’s less known work includes The Watsons, Lady Susan(which I positively love), Sanditon, The Three Sisters, Love and Friendship, and theHistory of England which I previously reviewed.  

    So now ya know all about my girl Jane.  

Posted in Uncategorized

New Blog Website

Readers I’ve created a new blog website! Yes blogger is nice but I was limited in what I could do. So I made a new one using iWeb. I’ll leave this one up just in case the other one shuts down for some reason. Here’s the info you need to know

http://web.mac.com/bluestocking_bb/The_Bluestocking_Guide/The_Bluestocking_Guide/The_Bluestocking_Guide.html

Happy reading! and Please comment or contact me!!

Posted in Uncategorized

Spoiler Alerts

Wow the amount of spoilers posted on the web regarding the final books is astounding! I so don’t want to know. My goodness!!!

So you don’t ruin it for yourselves by reading the articles I will give you the basic gist. It appears that someone may have gotten a hold of the book and taken pictures and posted it on the web. Now some of the pictures have been manipulated in photoshop. There are various versions that have inconsistent accounts. I haven’t read any of them and really I don’t want to know. I’m glad that I have off on Friday. But I’m also scared that someone in the bookstore will start running their mouth too much and I’ll overhear something. Hmmmm….. I guess I’ll have my iPod surgical attached for Friday.

I’ll be glad when Midnight on the 21st gets here!!!

Ok. Sorry. didn’t mean to rant.

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Movie Review: the Order of the Phoenix

Ok! So I went to the IMAX theater in Atlantic City to see the Order of the Phoenix. We were supposed to go Friday night at 7. Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out for that show and the 10 o’clock show. So we went to Cuba Libre and pigged out. The Suntanned Salmon is muy deliciouso!

So this morning we made the 10 a.m. show having purchased our tickets the night before. Ok! So I can see why people like going to Atlantic City. There’s some seriously great shopping in a small area! I mean the Coach Outlet, BCBG, etc. So the theater was in the Tropicana. Why did we drive all the way to A.C. Because 20 minutes of the movie was in 3-D- specifically the battle at the Ministry.

It was really good. I mean we all know they couldn’t include everything. But they modified the story in a away that didn’t chop up the plot too badly. A number of the sub-plots were left out but that’s ok. There were some great lines like when Shacklebolt says, “Dumbledore’s got style.”

The ministry battle was awesome! It’s one thing to read about spells flashing by; however, it’s something completely different when the spells are flashing an inch from your face. So I recommend that you see it in the IMAX.

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The Ultimate Harry Potter Quiz

A little more fun for all!! If you want, email me your answers. The person with the most right will gert a shout out.

1. What is the name of Dumbledore’s brother?
2. Who came up with the floor plan for Hogwarts?
3. How many stair cases are there at Hogwarts?
4. Who is the Ravenclaw ghost?
5. What is Harry’s middle name?
6. Who was the minister of Magic before Cornelius Fudge?
7. Which one of the Black sisters is the oldest?
8. What is Fleur’s sister’s name?
9. Who is the Keeper of the Keys?
10. What does Dudley resemble as a child?
11. Who is the Hufflepuff ghost?
12. What animal is Marvolo Gaunt described as resembling?
13. What character is named after a Grecian goddess who married a mortal turning her back on her divine origins?
14. Who is described as looking like a lion?
15. Buckbeak is what kind of animal?
16. What kind of animal lives in Wand Trees?
17. What is Professor Grubbldyplanks first name?
18. What is Professor Sprout’s first name?
19. What are Snape’s parents names?
20. Drinking the blood of what will give you a half-life?
21. Name both divination teachers?
22. Trelawney is the descendant of what famous seer?
23. How long does it take to make Felix Felicis?
24. What two things does Hermione smell around Amortentia?
25. Where did James and Lily Potter live?
26. What holiday did the newscaster in Sorceror’s Stone think people were celebrating early?
27. According to the Quibbler, Sirius is another name for what singer of the Hobgoblins?
28. What is the spell to magically magnify one’s voice?
29. What is the severing charm?
30. Who is Sirius’ favorite cousin?
31. What is Tonks first name?
32. Who was the least favorite Headmaster at Hogwarts?
33. Who was the Headmaster when the Chamber of Secrets was first opened?
34. What is the spell for a Patronus?
35. Who was described as having Loser’s Lurgy?
36. What item caused the death of 19 muggles?
37. What charm was placed on the fake Galleons the D.A. used to communicate?
38. Who bit Lupin as a child?
39. What type of car did the Wealsey’s have?
40. Who is the second oldest Weasley child?
41. What was Molly Weasley’s maiden name?
42. Where did Arthur Weasley work prior to being promoted?
43. Kingsly Shacklebolt is in what profession?
44. What is the name of the Wizard High court?
45. What is the spell to conjure the Dark Mark?
46. What is the incantation for the vanishing spell?
47. What is the branch of magic that protects the mind from external penetration?
48. Where did Lord Voldemort’s father live?
49. Who made Harry’s wand?
50. Who is the Irish seeker?
51. What position on the Quidditch Teams did James Potter play?
52. What is Ginny Weasley’s first name?
53. Which siblings brother was kicked by a werewolf attack?
54. Who are the identical female twins?
55. Fleur’s grandmother was a what?
56. Which dragon did Harry battle?
57. What is Bellatrix’s husband’s name?
58. What is Bagman’s first name?
59. What was “Archie” wearing to the World Quidditch cup.
60. What did Bill Wealsey’s pen pal send him?
61. What is the name of the Magical Institute in America?
62. What type of animal is Crookshanks?
63. Who was Percy’s girlfriend?
64. Who is the Weasley family owl?
65. Who named Pigwigeon?
66. In the Sorcorer’s Stone what curse did Ron threaten Hermione and Neville with?
67. What Quidditch team does Oliver Wood play for?
68. How older is Nicolas Flamel in the Sorcer’s Stone?
69. What coat of arms was on Marvolo’s ring?
70. What was the creature in the Chamber of Secrets?
71. What is Neville’s grandmother’s first name?
72. What plant produces stink sap?
73. What substance works on more stubborn forms of acne?
74. Who tried to curse off her pimples?
75. What did Draco look like at the Yule Ball?
76. Which Durstrang student had food down his front?
77. What is the spell for levitation?
78. Who let in the troll?
79. What color sleeping bags did Dumbledore conjure in Prisoner of Azakaban?
80. What do Dementors cause when they breed?
81. In the Sorceror’s Stone which wizard created the shooting stars?
82. Who has a scar that is a map of the London underground?
83. Who was banned from the Hogs Head 20 years ago?
84. Which unspeakable was throttled by Devils Snare in St. Mungos?
85. Frank and Alice Longbottom were tortured by which curse?
86. How many statutes comprised the Magical Brethren?
87. What is Lupin’s boggart?
88. What did Dumbledore said he sees in the Mirror of Erised?
89. What does the inscription above the Mirror of Erised say?
90. Who discovered the 12 uses of Dragon’s Blood?
91. What is the 12th use of Dragon’s Blood?
92. Who has a face like a pug?
93. What is Slughorn’s favorite treat?
94. Voldemort’s wand is made out of what wood?
95. Borgins and Burke is located where?
96. What color is the Knight Bus?
97. What is James Potters Animagus form?
98. What are the Ravenclaw colors?
99. Where does Snape live?
100. How many languages does Barty Crouch Sr. speak?
101. What is the language of goblins?
102. Who is the West Ham soccer fan?
103. Aragog is what type of animal?
104. What is the name of aragog’s wife?
105. Who is the Ravenclaw seeker?
106. What is the ravenclaw mascot?
107. What is the name of Hagrid’s baby dragon?
108. What is the name of Neville’s toad?
109. What wood is Harry’s wand made from?
110. What is the name of Fleur’s sister?
111. What does ginny call Fleur?
112. What was the name of lavender brown’s rabbit?
113. What pulls the school carriages?
114. Which O.W.L.S. examiner asked Harry to conjure a Patronus?
115. Which O.W.L.S. examiner personally examined Dumbledore in Charms?
116. What is the spell to fill the ears of surrounding people with a buzz in order to carry on a private conversation?
117. Who ran the orphanage where Tom Riddle grew up?
118. Which Black started the tradition of beheading elf when they ot really old?
119. What does S.P.E.W. stand for?
120. Who was an heir of Helga Hufflepuff?
121. Who uses Quick Quill Notes?
122. What two ingredients are needed for the Draught of living death?
123. What stone in the stomach of a goat will save you from most poisons?
124. What is the name for a re-animated corpse?
125. Who send the Firebolt?
126. Who was the ghost of the Shrieking Shack?
127. What is the constipation sensation gripping the nation?
128. The silver snuff box that gave Sirius a bite was filled with what?
129. Which skiving snackbox causes boils?
130. Which Slytherin player looked as though they had troll blood?
131. Which was the most popular skiving shack box?
132. Who was the bar keeper of the Leaky Cauldron?
133. Who ran the ice cream shop?
134. Which Death Eater was found dead in a shack up north?
135. Who was killed by the Basilisk?
136. What is the disarming charm?
137. What is the result of cross-breeding a manticore and a fire-crab?
138. What animal does a knarl resemble?
139. What do bowtruckles eat?
140. Who sent the dementor’s after Harry?
141. Which animals are subject to a lot of superstition regarding death?
142. Which muggle-born’s name had been originally put down for Eton?
143. Who betrayed the D.A.?
144. Who was the handsome Hufflepuff?
145. Who was Ginny’s first boyfriend?
146. Tonk’s special ability?
147. What magical candy did Dudley eat?
148. How much does Dobby get paid?
149. Who was Winky’s employer?
150. What candy did Dumbledore offer McGonagall in the first chapter of Sorceror’s Stone?
151. Lord Voldemort is a what of Tom Riddle?
152. The Sorting Hat orginially belonged to which founder?
153. Who does Harry have a magical bond to?
154. What is Magic beyond all that is done at Hogwarts?
155. What marble-like object did Neville receive from his grandmother?
156. It took five Death Eater’s to kill which two brothers?
157. Which Death Eater formerly worked in the Department of Mysteries?
158. Who was wrongly diagnosed with Spattergoit?
159. Who was the five time winner of witches weekly smile contest?
160. Who is the only spirit being of whom Peeves is afraid?
161. The name of the three-headed dog?
162. What is the name of Nicolas Flamel’s wife?
163. To the well organized mind death is but the next _____?
164. The Sorceror’s Stone give what two things unlimitedly?
165. What type of sandwiches does Ron not like?
166. Whose catch phrase is “Wotcher.”
167. What deathday did Sir Nicolas celebrate in the Chamber of Secrets?
168. What club did Sir Nicolas want to join?
169. Who is the Slytherin ghost?
170. What was the first password for the Gryffindor tower?
171. What did Fred and George say the HB on Percy’s badge stand for?
172. How much did Mr. Weasley win in the Dailey Prophet annual draw?
173. What is the Summoning Charm?
174. What is the magical ability to read minds?
175. Where was the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets?
176. How many generations back could Ernie McMillan trace back his pure blood status?
177. Whose mother was found dead in the Half Blood Prince?
178. What do Fred and George call their teen products?
179. Who is the Bulgarian seeker?
180. Who was Harry’s date to the Yule Ball?
181. Who was Ron’s date to the Yule Ball?
182. What did Fred and George invent to eavesdrop on conversation?
183. What did Percy claim was fertilizer samples from Norway?
184. Who was the other wizard that worked with Arthur Weasley in Chamber of secrets?
185. Dumbledore’s brother got in trouble for practicing inappropriate charms on what animal?
186. What is Hagrid’s mother’s name?
187. Where was Voldemort in the intervening years?
188. Which ministry official went to the Gaunt house?
189. Which hex did Harry produce on his first attempt at Occlumency?
190. Who was Neville’s date to the Yule Ball?
191. Arnold the Pygmy Puff is what kind of animal?
192. The Snitch is the mechanize replacement for this animal?
193. Where did Quidditch originate?
194. Which passenger on the knight bus was quite sick?
195. Who was arrested for falsely claiming to be a Death Eater?
196. What was the name of the little girl Tom Riddle took into a cave?
197. How many points does the seeker get for capturing the snitch?
198. Who was the referee at the Quidditch World Cup?
199. What is the remedy for a Dementor encounter?
200. What are Fred and George’s birthdate?

Posted in Uncategorized

Harry Potter Crossword

Here’s some Harry Potter fun for you while we wait for the book. Yeah the formatting is a little off. Try copy and pasting it into word using Courier font. Unfortunately I don’t remember all the names I hid. So have fun!!

FIND THE WIZARD NAMES

M W R U D N E V A L U A Q M
S O U L U P I N L I T Y O L
D R F K H A N N A H B C T G
L M U D C N Q H G E J R D S
O T S I X S B U V R O F I N
S A T T J Y K Z T M X G S L
U I S A F U L R E I O P L I
I L D V W I B D A O D Y U R
R G H R T R L I Y N N I G L
I F C A O O Q C N E Y N H L
S W P P V A S U H I Z I O A
S G E D U B E I E J V G R G
U E R O N A L D S U S A N A
B O C L Z N I P A D M A Y N
L R Y O A E L L I V E N D O
A G Z R J A M E S D V N E G
O E D E P E T U N I A E R C
P M U S U M A E S F E F F M

Posted in author bio

Author Bio: J.K. Rowling

Forgive me readers I have been re-miss. I should have done the author bio prior to reviewing the books. I think what made me most curious about the book was after someone told me her life’s story. I think most of the biography is best straight from the author’s website

My mother and father were both Londoners. They met on a train travelling from King’s Cross station to Arbroath in Scotland when they were both eighteen; my father was off to join the Royal Navy, my mother to join the WRNS (the women’s equivalent). My mother said she was cold, my father offered her a half share in his coat, and they got married just over a year later, when they were nineteen.Both left the navy and moved to the outskirts of Bristol, in the West of England. My mother gave birth to me when she was twenty. I was a rotund baby. The description in ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ of the photographs of ‘what appeared to be a beach ball wearing different coloured bobble hats’ would also apply to the pictures of my early years.

My sister Di arrived a year and eleven months after me. The day of her birth is my earliest memory, or my earliest datable memory, anyway. I distinctly remember playing with a bit of plasticine in the kitchen while my father rushed in and out of the room, hurrying backwards and forwards to my mother, who was giving birth in their bedroom. I know I didn’t invent this memory because I checked the details later with my mother. I also have a vivid mental picture of walking into their bedroom a little while later, hand in hand with my father, and seeing my mother lying in bed in her nightdress next to my beaming sister, who is stark naked with a full head of hair and looks about five years old. Although I clearly pasted together this bizarre false memory out of bits of hearsay when I was a child, it is so vivid that it still comes to mind if I ever think about Di being born.

Di had – and still has – very dark, almost black hair, and dark brown eyes like my mother’s, and she was considerably prettier than I was (and she still is). As compensation, I think, my parents decided that I must be ‘the bright one’. We both resented our labels. I really wanted to be less freckly-beach-ball-like, and Di, who is now a lawyer, felt justifiably annoyed that nobody had noticed she was not just a pretty face. This undoubtedly contributed to the fact that we spent about three quarters of our childhood fighting like a pair of wildcats imprisoned together in a very small cage. To this day, Di bears a tiny scar just above her eyebrow from the cut I gave her when I threw a battery at her – but I didn’t expect to hit her, I thought she’d duck! (This excuse didn’t cut much ice with my mother, who was angrier than I had ever seen her).

We left the bungalow when I was four and moved to Winterbourne, also on the outskirts of Bristol. Now we lived in a semi-detached house with STAIRS, which prompted Di and I to re-enact, over and over again, a clifftop drama in which one of us would ‘dangle’ from the topmost stair, holding hands with the other and pleading with them not to let go, offering all manner of bribery and blackmail, until falling to their ‘death’. We found this endlessly amusing. I think the last time we played the cliff game was two Christmases ago; my nine-year-old daughter didn’t find it nearly as funny as we did.

The small amount of time that we didn’t spend fighting, Di and I were best friends. I told her a lot of stories and sometimes didn’t even have to sit on her to make her stay and listen. Often the stories became games in which we both played regular characters. I was extremely bossy when I stage-managed these long-running plays but Di put up with it because I usually gave her star parts.

There were lots of children around our age living in our new street, among them a brother and sister whose surname was Potter. I always liked their name, whereas I wasn’t very fond of my own; ‘Rowling’ (the first syllable of which is pronounced ‘row’ as in boat, rather than ‘row’ as in argument) lent itself to woeful jokes such as ‘Rowling stone’, ‘Rowling pin’ and so on. Anyway, the brother has since cropped up in the press claiming to ‘be’ Harry. His mother has also told reporters that he and I used to dress up as wizards. Neither of these claims is true; in fact, all I remember of the boy in question was that he rode a ‘Chopper’, which was the bicycle everybody wanted in the seventies, and once threw a stone at Di, for which I hit him hard over the head with a plastic sword (I was the only one allowed to throw things at Di).

I enjoyed school in Winterbourne. It was a very relaxed environment; I remember lots of pottery making, drawing and story writing, which suited me perfectly. However, my parents had always harboured a dream of living in the country, and around my ninth birthday we moved for the last time, to Tutshill, a small village just outside Chepstow, in Wales.

The move coincided almost exactly with the death of my favourite grandparent, Kathleen, whose name I later took when I needed an extra initial. No doubt the first bereavement of my life influenced my feelings about my new school, which I didn’t like at all. We sat all day at roll-top desks facing the blackboard. There were old inkwells set into the desktops. There was a second hole in my desk, which had been gouged out with the point of a compass by the boy who had sat there the year before. He had obviously worked away quietly out of the sight of the teacher. I thought this was a great achievement, and set to work enlarging the hole with my own compass, so that by the time I left that classroom you could comfortably wiggle your thumb through it.

My secondary school, Wyedean, where I went when I was eleven, was the place I met Sean Harris, to whom Chamber of Secrets is dedicated and who owned the original Ford Anglia. He was the first of my friends to learn to drive and that turquoise and white car meant FREEDOM and no more having to ask my father to give me lifts, which is the worst thing about living in the countryside when you are a teenager. Some of the happiest memories of my teenage years involve zooming off into the darkness in Sean’s car. He was the first person with whom I really discussed my serious ambition to be a writer and he was also the only person who thought I was bound to be a success at it, which meant much more to me than I ever told him at the time.

The worst thing that happened during my teenage years was my mother becoming ill. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which is a disease of the central nervous system, when I was fifteen. Although most people with multiple sclerosis experience periods of remission – when their illness stops progressing for a while, or even improves – Mum was unlucky; from the time of her diagnosis onwards she seemed to become slowly but steadily worse. I think most people believe, deep down, that their mothers are indestructible; it was a terrible shock to hear that she had an incurable illness, but even then, I did not fully realise what the diagnosis might mean.

I left school in 1983 and went to study at the University of Exeter, on the south coast of England. I studied French, which was a mistake; I had succumbed to parental pressure to study ‘useful’ modern languages as opposed to ‘but-where-will-it-lead?’ English and really should have stood my ground. On the plus side, studying French meant that I had a year living in Paris as part of my course.

After leaving university I worked in London; my longest job was with Amnesty International, the organisation that campaigns against human rights abuses all over the world. But in 1990, my then boyfriend and I decided to move up to Manchester together. It was after a weekend’s flat-hunting, when I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, that the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head.

I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a functioning pen with me, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. I think, now, that this was probably a good thing, because I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. I think that perhaps if I had had to slow down the ideas so that I could capture them on paper I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen).

I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening, although those first few pages bear no resemblance at all to anything in the finished book. I moved up to Manchester, taking the swelling manuscript with me, which was now growing in all sorts of strange directions, and including ideas for the rest of Harry’s career at Hogwarts, not just his first year. Then, on December 30th 1990, something happened that changed both my world and Harry’s forever: my mother died.

It was a terrible time. My father, Di and I were devastated; she was only forty five years old and we had never imagined – probably because we could not bear to contemplate the idea – that she could die so young. I remember feeling as though there was a paving slab pressing down upon my chest, a literal pain in my heart.

Nine months later, desperate to get away for a while, I left for Portugal, where I had got a job teaching English in a language institute. I took with me the still-growing manuscript of Harry Potter, hopeful that my new working hours (I taught in the afternoon and evening) would lend themselves to pressing on with my novel, which had changed a lot since my mother had died. Now, Harry’s feelings about his dead parents had become much deeper, much more real. In my first weeks in Portugal I wrote my favourite chapter in Philosopher’s Stone, The Mirror of Erised.

I had hoped that when I returned from Portugal I would have a finished book under my arm. In fact, I had something even better: my daughter. I had met and married a Portuguese man, and although the marriage did not work out, it had given me the best thing in my life. Jessica and I arrived in Edinburgh, where my sister Di was living, just in time for Christmas 1994.

I intended to start teaching again and knew that unless I finished the book very soon, I might never finish it; I knew that full-time teaching, with all the marking and lesson planning, let alone with a small daughter to care for single-handedly, would leave me with absolutely no spare time at all. And so I set to work in a kind of frenzy, determined to finish the book and at least try and get it published. Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her pushchair I would dash to the nearest cafe and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening. Then I had to type the whole thing out myself. Sometimes I actually hated the book, even while I loved it.

Finally it was done. I covered the first three chapters in a nice plastic folder and set them off to an agent, who returned them so fast they must have been sent back the same day they arrived. But the second agent I tried wrote back and asked to see the rest of the manuscript. It was far and away the best letter I had ever received in my life, and it was only two sentences long.

It took a year for my new agent, Christopher, to find a publisher. Lots of them turned it down. Then, finally, in August 1996, Christopher telephoned me and told me that Bloomsbury had ‘made an offer.’ I could not quite believe my ears. ‘You mean it’s going to be published?’ I asked, rather stupidly. ‘It’s definitely going to be published?’ After I had hung up, I screamed and jumped into the air; Jessica, who was sitting in her high-chair enjoying tea, looked thoroughly scared.

And you probably know what happened next.

What’s not on the author’s website is that when she was writing the first book she was living on welfare. In fact she was so poor that sometimes she couldn’t afford to buy diapers. She would go to a local supermarket which had complementary diapers in the bathrooms and take extras. Another thing that is not on the website is that the author did five years of research and planning before she wrote the first novel, which is why it is such a tightly woven plot.

When the first book rights were published by Bloomsbury she received an advance of $3000 UD. However when Scholastic (American) won the bidding for the rights to the book they paid here a whopping $105,000 which was unheard of for a children’s author who was a foreigner to boot. Before the book was published the Bloomsbury asked her to sign her name J.K. Rowling rather than Joanne Rowling because they were afraid young boys wouldn’t read a female author. In addition the first book’s title was changed to Sorceror’s Stone in America rather than Philosopher’s Stone. Apparently in the U.K., Philosopher’s Stone has a magical connotation that is missing in the U.S.

What really got me into the series was the legal disputes with this series. The summer before I went to law school, one of my co-workers erroneously believed that the publishing of the Order of the Phoenis was being held up by a plagarism lawsuit. So as an aspiring attorney, you know that got my attention. So story is as follows:

There was this American author named Nancy Stouffer who began alleging back in 1999 that Rowling had violated copyright and trademark infringements. Rowling and her people sought a declaratoy judgment that this wasn’t so. Stouffer claimed that Rowling had stolen the word “Muggles” from her work. She also named her character Larry Potter, there was a Lilly Potter who was his friend, there were also terms such as Nimbus, nevilles. She also claimed that her book was widely sold in the U.S.; she claimed she had $1 million in sales Anyway, the Court found for Rowling. It found that Stouffer had committed fraud upon the court by submitting altered and falsified documentation and fined her $50,000. When I say falsified documentation I mean that she in the past had created invoices showing over a $1 million dollars in sales. She actually forges an executives signature to try to show that a supermarket carried her books in its stores. Stouffer appealed but the Appellate Court upheld the lower court’s decision and further held that no reasonable juror would mistake Rowling’s work for Stouffer’s work. Incidently I went to Barnes & Noble online and looked up her book to see what people reviewing it thought.
Not one person reviewing the book had anything positive to say about it. Most people bought the book due to the lawsuit hype but were severely disappointed. It seems as though Nancy Stouffer can’t write to save her life. Additionally I went to Nancy Stouffer’s website. It is this reviewer’s opinion that her story is the stupidest, inconsistent bit of rubbish I have ever had the misfortune to read. No wonder no company would buy her book! That story wasn’t worth the ink and paper on which it was written. After being slapped by the court you’d think the woman would-well- pipe down. But oh no, no, no, a quick review of her website reveals that she is now suing the author and Scholastic for perjury, fraud and conspiracy. Of course no one is actually cares these day. It’s rather sad actually!

An online copy of the court decision is here:

http://www.eyrie.org/~robotech/stouffer.htm

Anyway, J.K. Rowling is the first author to make the Forbes Billionaire list. Over 365 Million Harry Potter books have been sold world wide thus far. Scholastic has printed 13 million books in this run. With the last book I believe the printing was 10 million. Many bookstores ran out of the books. In the first day of the sale of the Half-Blood Prince 6 million copies were sold which is 250,000 books per hour.

Since publishing the first Harry Potter book the author has re-married a Dr. Neil Murray who is a general practioner. She has had two additional children: David and MacKenzie. She does not plan to write any additional Harry Potter books; but says she may consider publishing her notes as a Harry Potter encyclopedia for charity.

Further note, J.K. Rowling is coing to the U.S. in October. She will be in N.Y.C. on October 19th. There will be a question and answer session at 7 pm that will be open to children and adults for questions. Go to the Scholastic website for more info beginning July 30, 2007.

Posted in Essays

The Hero’s Journey

At last, the promised essay on the Hero’s Journey. In 1949 Joseph Campbell wrote a book entitled, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In this book he broadly analyzed mythology and determined a pattern to the journeys that each of the heroes faced. He identified 17 steps in the Hero’s Journey; however, not every step is contained in every Hero’s Journey. For purposes of this essay, I will be discussing the steps in terms of the Harry Potter series.

1. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE

The adventure begins with the hero receiving a call to action, such as a threat to the peace of the community, or the hero simply falls into or blunders into it. The call is often announced to the hero by another character who acts as a “herald”. The herald, often represented as dark or terrifying and judged evil by the world, may call the character to adventure simply by the crisis of his appearance.

In this series the call to adventure would be the night that the Potters were killed. Voldemort is the terrifying herald who threatens the peace of not only the magical community but also the world at large. By attacking Harry, Voldemort creates his rival. Harry is given no choice but to accept the adventure because Voldemort will never stop hunting him till he kills him.

2. THE REFUSAL OF THE CALL

In some stories, the hero initially refuses the call to adventure. When this happens, the hero may suffer somehow, and may eventually choose to answer, or may continue to decline the call.

Not all cases does the hero refuse the call. Someone else may refuse the call on behalf of the hero. The refusal in this case comes from Lily. When Voldemort tried to kill Lily, she was given the choice to live. She knew Voldemort was after Harry. She refused the call on Harry’s behalf by offering to die in his stead. However, she was killed in spite of her efforts.

3. SUPERNATURAL AID
After the hero has accepted the call, he encounters a protective figure (often elderly) who provides special tools and advice for the adventure ahead, such as an amulet or a weapon.

The Supernatural Aid arrives in the form of Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore knew that Harry was still in danger from the rest of the Death Eaters. In order to keep Harry safe till he was old enough to enter Hogwarts, Dumbledore invoked an ancient charm or the “amulet” that would protect Harry in the place where his mother’s blood dwelt. Throughout the series, Dumbledore constantly watches Harry and gives him enough information so that he is able to complete the task given to him at the beginning of each book.

4. THE CROSSING OF THE FIRST THRESHOLD

The hero must cross the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not. Often this involves facing a “threshold guardian”, an entity that works to keep all within the protective confines of the world but must be encountered in order to enter the new zone of experience.

The Leaky Cauldron is the threshold in the series. This is the portal between Muggle London and the magical world. The threshold guardian is the back wall that must be tapped with a wand in a certain manner. Once Harry passes the wall he enters a new realm of experience- biting books, beatles eyes, Ollivanders Makers of Fine Wands, and the prejudice against Muggle-borns.

5. REBIRTH
The hero, rather than passing a threshold, passes into the new zone by means of rebirth. Appearing to have died by being swallowed or having their flesh scattered, the hero is transformed and becomes ready for the adventure ahead.

Once Harry enters Hogwarts he is essentially swallowed by the magical world. It is here that he learns to be a hero. The first person Harry stands up for is Hagrid. Draco refers to Hagrid as being a sort of savage. Harry stands up for Hagrid by telling Draco that Hagrid is brilliant. The next time Harry acts heroically he actually acts. This is when Draco takes Neville’s Rememberall and flies away with it. Harry climbs on his broom and follows Draco in the air to make Draco return the object.

6. THE ROAD OF TRIALS

Once past the threshold, the hero encounters a dream landscape of ambiguous and fluid forms. The hero is challenged to survive a succession of obstacles and, in so doing, amplifies his consciousness. The hero is helped covertly by the supernatural helper or may discover a benign power supporting him in his passage.

Each book in the series can be described as a road of trials because Harry must always over come a major obstacle before the end of each school year. First Harry prevents Voldemort from obtaining the Sorcerer’s Stone. Next Harry succeeds in destroying the Basilisk and closing the Chamber of Secrets forever. Third Harry rescues Sirius and Buckbeak from the Ministry. In the GoF , Harry must not only participate in the Triwizard Tournament, he must also survive Voldemort’s Rebirth. In the OotP , Harry must survive the Ministry’s attempts to discredit him and have him expelled from the wizarding world. He also has to rescue Sirius from Voldemort and prevent Voldemort from obtaining the prophecy. In the HBP , Harry has to discover how many horcruxes Voldemort has and discover the location of each. In each adventure he is assisted in the background by Dumbledore who is the supernatural aid; he is also assisted by Hermione and Ron who could be described as the benign powers.

7. MARRIAGE
The ultimate trial is often represented as a marriage between the hero and a queenlike, or mother-like figure. This represents the hero’s mastery of life (represented by the feminine) as well as the totality of what can be known. When the hero is female, this becomes a male figure.

There are two possible marriages in the series. The first is Mrs. Weasley who is the mother than Harry never had. The second is Ginny Weasley is the girl that Harry ultimately realizes is the perfect girl for him.

8. WOMAN AS TEMPTRESS

His awareness expanded, the hero may fixate on the disunity between truth and his subjective outlook, inherently tainted by the flesh. This is often represented with revulsion or rejection of a female figure.

There are two instances of the rejection of the female figure. In the OotP, Harry realizes that he needs to know more information about Voldemort’ actions. Mrs. Weasley true to her role as a mother wants to protect him. Despite this, Harry rejects her coddling and demands that Sirius tells him what is going on. The second instance comes where Harry breaks up with Ginny. While he knows that while Ginny is his best source of comfort, he is realistic enough to realize that Voldemort will use Ginny to get close to him. As he cannot bear the thought of being responsible for Ginny’s death, he rejects her by breaking up.

9. ATONEMENT WITH THE FATHER
The hero reconciles the tyrant and merciful aspects of the father-like authority figure to understand himself as well as this figure.

To a certain degree we have not seen this reconciliation yet. Throughout the series Harry has been told what a wonderful man his father was. However, in the OotP in the Pensieve scene, Harry sees the tyrannical person his father and Sirius were. Harry has a difficult time getting past this. He no longer takes comfort in being compared to his father. In fact with what he saw he imagines that his father must have forced his mother into marrying him. From that point on the series shifts to tell more about his mother’s personality.

10. APOTHEOSIS
The hero’s ego is disintegrated in a breakthrough expansion of consciousness. Quite frequently the hero’s idea of reality is changed; the hero may find an ability to do new things or to see a larger point of view, allowing the hero to sacrifice himself.

To a large degree this hasn’t been seen yet in the series. The only thing that comes close to this is the scene in the Cave in the HBP. Harry’s sacrifices his ideals by force feeding Dumbledore the poison. Prior to this point, Harry never had to willing choose to do a hard thing. This whole experience makes Harry realize that he has to give up comfort and give up his dependence on others. He has a larger point of view because he realizes that he can’t stay at Hogwarts; we see him state that he’s going out into the wide world beginning at Privet Drive then heading to Godric’s Hollow.

The next steps haven’t been seen in the series yet because the next steps deal with obtaining the boon and returning to the “real” world. But I think we can take some educated guesses as to what may happen

11. The Ultimate Boon
The hero is now ready to obtain that which he has set out, an item or new awareness that, once he returns, will benefit the society that he has left.

The boon in this case would be the destruction of the rest of the horcruxes and the death of Voldemort. This will allow the world both Wizard and Muggle to continue in relative peace.

12. The Refusal of the Return
Having found bliss and enlightenment in the other world, the hero may not want to return to the ordinary world to bestow the boon onto his fellow man.

I don’t think the journey will give Harry much bliss. Will he be enlightened? In a sense he will be enlightened. Creation of horcruxes is an unknown fact in the Wizarding world. He is also very much knowledgeable about the fact that authority is not always in the right. From this point he will be like Dumbledore in the fact that if he ever comes across this again in the future he will understand what he is looking at. I think his not wanting to return to the ordinary world will probably be in the form that after defeating Voldemort he will feel a separateness from everyone else. It may spoil his ability to enjoy or partipate in life going forward.

13. The Magic Flight

When the boon’s acquisition (or the hero’s return to the world) comes against opposition, a chase or pursuit may ensue before the hero returns.

From the U.S. cover of the Deathly Hallows, it seems as though there are spectators to the final battle. The shapes look hooded- perhaps they are Dementors or Death Eaters. When Harry is successful at defeating Voldemort, they may try to retaliate by killing him. So he will have to fight his way out.

14. The Rescue from Without

The hero may need to be rescued by forces from the ordinary world. This may be because the hero has refused to return or because he is successfully blocked from returning with the boon. The hero loses his ego.

If the spectators try to retaliate against Harry he will need help. This help may come in the form of Ron and Hermione, the benign powers. It may also come in the form of Ginny, Neville, Luna, or other members of Dumbledore’s Army who respect Harry as their leader.

15. The Crossing of the Return Threshold

The hero returns to the world of common day and must accept it as real.

After Voldemort’s defeat Harry may return to Hogwarts or even his Aunt at Privet Drive. The experience may seem surreal at first. But in time he will readjust to life. He will be aided in this by his love for Ginny who will play a crucial role in establishing reality for him.

16. Master of Two Worlds
Because of the boon or due to his experience, the hero may now perceive both the divine and human worlds.

I think what will happen is that Harry will become the new Dumbledore. He will be like his mentor in that he cares for the Magical and Muggle worlds. He will be constantly on the look out for great evils.

17. Freedom to Live
The hero bestows the boon to his fellow man.

In the act of defeating Voldemort and the Death Eaters, Harry automatically grants the boon to humanity. Wizards and Muggles no longer have to live their lives in fear. Possibly all the magical races will be reconciled as equals ending millennia of prejudice against non-humans and part-humans because the Wizard world will understand that this prejudice was used by Voldemort to recruit powerful followers.

So now you know all about the Hero’s Journey. So the next time you watch Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or read Beowulf or any epic tale, you will be able to see, understand, and predict the progression of the story. Feel free to head over to the google group and debate this topic amongst yourselves.