The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 4, No 2 (2000)

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The SpyGlass

- tHe MaD hAtTeR, column editor


A Fine Romance

In the wake of Pottermania, the hAtTeR has been having a simply delicious time ferreting out gossip here and there and everywhere about the world's most popular pint-sized wizards. The hAtTeR admits his disappointment that rumours of the lawsuit plaguing author J.K. Rowling as reported in the last issue have died down (although they haven't quite died out!) and has been following with glee the film world fuss, as readers will see later in this missive. But imagine how the Hatter's ears perked up when he heard the scurrilous news that readers on CCBC_Net, a well-known children's literature listserv, were recently discussing whether or not Harry has a crush on his best-buddy, Ron Weasley!!!! There's a piece of news indeed. It certainly explains a great deal about young Harry! Even eminent editor Arthur A. Levine of Scholastic U.S., under whose eagle eye Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire reached American readers in their millions, jumped into the fray to discuss whether boys will be boys or not! While Levine noted that boys do indeed from time to time have innocent adolescent crushes, romantic and other, from his perspective Cho Chang doesn't have anything to worry about. The hAtTeR isn't so sure. It would certainly explain Harry's seemingly bad luck with the opposite sex, and his rivalry with Draco Malfoy could be perceived in a whole new light too. When J.K. Rowling said that Goblet of Fire was going to delve deeper into Harry's adolescent emotions, the hAtTeR for one was skeptical but take note—you heard it here first—Harry Potter is gay!

Hooray for Hollywood!

Speaking of Harry Potter, the film that is, what a buzz there was when Warner Brothers Studio announced the cast of their forthcoming film version. 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe will portray Harry alongside newcomers Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, who will play Harry's chums Ron and Hermione. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Warner Bros. president of worldwide theatrical production, sent a Press Release that reached even the hAtTeR, noting that "We searched through all the Muggle and Wizard households just to find the right young people to play Harry, Ron and Hermione and we have found them in Dan, Rupert and Emma." Interestingly enough, news reached the hAtTeR that though young Daniel may have theatrical experience, having starred in a recent BBC production of David Copperfield, he hasn't read his Harry—in fact, Daniel didn't even finish the first book! Co-stars whose names have been confirmed include Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid but the name most bandied about is Alan Rickman, who is supposedly—so the hAtTeR has heard anyway—being considered for the role of Harry's nemesis at Hogwarts, Professor Snape. The untimely deaths of two elderly British greats has cast the casting of Professor Dumbledore into confusion—Alec Guinness would have been a treat as would the eminent Sir John Gielgud. But the hAtTeR wants Warner Bros. to know that he's interested—any takers?

Oy Vay, Harry Potter

And before the hAtTeR leaves Potterdom behind in this issue, he would like to share with readers of The Looking Glass his discovery of a most interesting and mystical approach to this childlit hit! Why not sign up for a fascinating look at Harry using Kabbalah? According to the Continuing Education catalogue from the University of Judaism for Fall 2000, "Harry Potter, Biblical Echoes—Kabballah and Mysticism" offers students a unique methodology to "menschlichkeit"—character building—as a tool for teaching about Jewish values, ethics, Torah and history. Despite strict Talmudic prohibitions against the use of magic, nevertheless, the course proports to make Harry Potter "come alive through Biblical Echoes" and "offer us 'permission' for looking at concepts with new eyes, eyes remade for wonder." Move over Screwtape! It's Oy Vay for Harry Potter!!!

Library Paste

Joan Bodger is a dear friend of the hAtTeR's and has provided him with many gleeful tidbits for this column in the past but the best is yet to come! Herself a storyteller of great repute north and south of the 49th Parallel, Joan Bodger has been keeping us all in suspense with the forthcoming publication of her memoir, The Crack in the Teacup: The Life of an Old Woman Steeped in Stories. Those who have admired her fine prose in books like How the Heather Looks, Clever Lazy, and The Forest Family are in for a treat—and ohhh the gossip!!! Such tidbits!!! This is the Joan Bodger who was fired from the University of Missouri, accused of being a Communist and pornographer in the late 60s!!!! And this is the Joan Bodger who has helped to keep libraries standing with a special something added to the foundations of one very eminent library in Toronto—the Lillian H. Smith Library, named after that famous founder of children's services in Toronto's public library system.

It seems that after the death of her second husband, Alan Mercer, Joan had hoped to bury his ashes under a new opera house, but government bureaucracy being what it is, the plans came to a halt with a change in government. Bodger wasn't sure what to do with Alan's Ashes (The hAtTeR is trying to give a not-so-subtle nudge to readers of a certain brash young Irishman's memoirs). So Bodger decided to scatter the ashes in the foundations of this grand new library building as a suitable resting place, and did so during the winter of 1993. The building does have a certain sheen to it, the hAtTeR would like to note, and with grand gryphons flanking its front doors, it is a most elegant resting place. But it's clear that what keeps it standing is that special something that Bodger added to the concrete—and which gives library paste a whole new meaning too!

Of course, the hAtTeR doesn't expect interested aficionados to wait until Bodger's book appears on the shelves of the bookstore nearest to you—so visit www.saturdaynight.ca; go to "Archives" and in the Archive search (on the left hand side of the page, not the right), enter "Bodger" and voilà—you'll find that the hAtTeR always tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! We're adding this note because there isn't a direct link to the article, but it's a fascinating piece and readers may well want to go there.

Wilder and Wilder!

The Hatter would like to raise a belated glass to toast a notable anniversary. Friday, August 25th was the 115th wedding anniversary for two of childlit's beloved pioneers, Laura and Almanzo Wilder. The hAtTeR was there at the wedding in the first place so this item rather dates him, but still—an anniversary is an anniversary is an anniversary!


Have you got something you want to share among friends? Something you might not want just anyone to know? Contact me, the MaD hAtTeR . I promise to be really discreet and it'll be for my eyes only!


Volume 4, Issue 2, The Looking Glass, 2000

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680