Summer 2007 was a really fun summer. I attended a Potter Con, stood in the Austin heat at Book People for the midnight book release, and was getting ready to start my new life as a Pacifica student. The previous fall, I had just completed my Master’s Thesis, Searching for the Golden Snitch, addressing some then-unformulated theories about the relationship between literature and American myth, which I was energized to edit for publication.
And then 2 very goal shattering things happened:
1. I became a college professor in the fall of 2008. That move from perpetual student into semi-student/semi-teacher complicated my relationship to the Potter mythos. I could identify with Potter as a student, but I had a more difficult time identifying with Potter as a teacher. I have not fully explored yet which Potter teacher I identify with best, because most of the strongest teachers possess some trait I haven’t claimed yet for myself. This will be something to consider later. Anyway, after this awakening, I stopped writing Potter papers at Pacifica. The ones I have written, I’m holding on to for the sake of “The Scottish Potter Book.”
2. I went to Pacifica. You’d think this would be a good thing, right? It’s the “Harvard” of Mythological Studies. My previous myth degree was a self-guided degree in the Humanities, so I lacked a strong faculty to guide me through the material. As a result, I read just about everything I found relevant by Joseph Campbell (which was a lot in retrospect), but only a little bit by C.G. Jung. I’d read Jung sure. I relate to his work because I intuited much of what he claims long before I knew who he was. But at Pacifica, I learned more about Jung and became a bit disillusioned with Campbell. OK, that’s a lie. I became disillusioned with the whole “Hero’s Journey” bit, which I have written about previously.
So The Scottish Potter Book was put aside. I did have a friend read it, and I have comments and feedback that will help me write said book, but I need a new organizational structure and thesis. Dissertation first, Potter later.
What does Pottermore.com have to do with anything? This is probably the best announcement I’ve heard since finding out the release date for the Harry Potter, years 5-7 Lego video game. With the completion of the final book, there was a big bruhaha that resulted in a teaser announcement by J.K. Rowling code named “The Scottish Book”. Could this website finally fill in some blanks concerning backstory? Could this website be The Scottish Book? Considering the magnitude of the idea, Rowling would either need to publish a 20 volume Hogwarts: A History, or she could write a website right? Websites can be constantly updated and revised. This is a good thing, Rose.
And perhaps this is the kindling I need to finally get off my duff and finish the Scottish Potter Book.
My original dissertation plan was to write about Potter, but I’m very glad I chose Disney instead. Disney is a much smarter choice when it comes down to exploring American myth, for obvious reasons (i.e., it’s American). Getting past the American part, Potter is myth, which is why it became the world wide phenomenon it did, and this is why books need to continue exploring the topic. That’s what academics do. To paraphrase Walt Disney, the artist just makes the work, then the academics come in and tell the artist what it means.