Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
Special Episode: House Elves with Witch, Please!
For years, we've been grappling with how to appropriately talk about house-elves in the Harry Potter series. As the books progress and we spend more and more time with Dobby, Winky, and the members of S.P.E.W., we've decided to use this week to hand the mic over to our dear friends at Witch, Please for this special deep dive. We hope you enjoy their interview with Jessica Marie Johnson (she/her), who is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University and a Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is also the Director of LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure. Jessica is a historian of Atlantic slavery and the Atlantic African diaspora. She is the author of Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World.
Next week we're reading Chapter Thirty-One, The Third Task, through the theme of Spite.
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Harry Potter and the Sacred Text: Series Trailer03:50Welcome to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, a podcast by Not Sorry Productions!Learn more at https://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/
Commitment: The Boy Who Lived (Book 1, Chapter 1)25:16In the premiere episode of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Casper and Vanessa talk about why they are starting this project and analyze the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone through the theme of commitment.
Loneliness: The Vanishing Glass (Book 1, Chapter 2)30:11Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of loneliness in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss the Dursleys' parenting choices, the significance of numbers, and the birthday blues. A small correction: In this week’s epsiode, Vanessa says that the letters for chai are יה (yud hay), when they are actually חי (chet yud).
Fear: The Letters From No One (Book 1, Chapter 3)26:09Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of fear in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Vernon Dursley's illusion of control, the psychology of bullies, and climate change.
Generosity: The Keeper of the Keys (Book 1, Chapter 4)25:43Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of generosity in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Casper demonstrates his excellent Hagrid impression and Vanessa addresses whether we can or should empathize with the Dursleys.
Being a Stranger: Diagon Alley (Book 1, Chapter 5)28:50Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of "being a stranger" in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss hefty ideas like consumerist culture in the wizarding world, Hagrid's status as an outsider, and mentorship.
Expectations: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (Book 1, Chapter 6)25:17Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of expectations in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss Harry and Ron's budding friendship, the unusual bravery of Scabbers the rat, and how our bodily practices relate to our spiritual experience.
Vulnerability: The Sorting Hat (Book 1, Chapter 7)26:22Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of vulnerability in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss how Harry’s experience with the sorting hat teaches us to reclaim our own narratives after trauma, and extend blessings both to know-it-all Hermione and know-nothing Neville.*NB: Vanessa’s opening story is about sexual assault. If you want to skip it, the 30-second recap starts about 5 minutes into the episode. *
Promises: The Potions Master (Book 1, Chapter 8)28:06Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of promises in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They discuss tropes in bad 80s tv shows, Harry's reaction to his own fame, and Hermione's destiny to smash the patriarchy.