7 Quick Potters (7/15/11)

Before I start the Quick Takes, I have to announce the next stage of my Ideological Turing Test — a challenge for individual Christians and Atheists to see how well they understand each other.  This past week, Christians and atheists both answered questions about Christianity and the atheists tried to are trying to imitate Christian respondents well enough to blend in with them.  Now, you can be the judge.  Read through the responses and vote on whether you think each entry was written by a sincere Christian or a shamming atheist.

Last week we ran the same experiment in reverse, with Christians and atheists both answering questions intended for atheists.   The winners of that round (with accompanying charts and statistics) will be announced once this round of voting closes.  (All inspired by Bryan Caplan’s Ideological Turing Test).



Some weeks I struggle coming up with 7 Quick Takes themes.  This is not one of those weeks.  I’ve just returned from the midnight showing of Harry Potter.

I went as Bellatrix

I have some opinions about the movie (some of which are relevant to this blog, insofar as they’re about Harry’s role as a Christ-like redeemer), but, for now, let’s just revel in the series to date.



Were you aware there is an entire genre of music about Harry Potter known as wrock (wizarding rock)?  Were you aware that the band Alas, Earwax has a Raffi-like singalong about Professor Quirrell’s symbiotic relationship with Voldermort titled “There’s a Face in the Back of my Head?”  Enjoy:



I would gladly dress up for more movies and attend more midnight release parties for books, if only those options more frequently available.  Harry Potter isn’t my all-time favorite series, but I’ve loved getting to be unrepentant nerdy in public (and seeing everyone else swept up in the fandom).

Pre-college, kids my age tended not to like me and I was leery of reaching out to them.  But the Potter books gave me a sure-fire way to open up conversations with almost anyone.  It was a tremendous gift to finally have something in common with everyone.


The Harry Potter series had a salutary effect on more than my social life.  According to a study in the British Medical Journal, hospital ER visits for children who suffer accidents take a nose dive whenever a new book in the series came out.  The kids were all busy reading instead of roughhousing.


Oh, and speaking of science and Harry Potter perhaps now’s the appropriate time to mention that the only academic paper I’d ever given at a conference was a lecture on the genetic theory of wizardry at Azkatraz 2009.

I still have the powerpoint and the audio recording of the talk, so let me know if people would like me to put them up somewhere.

Oh, and at some point during the series’s run, it provided me with fodder for two essays that went up on The Huffington Post.


Judging by the search terms that bring people to this blog. some people out there are still trying to find the Harry Potter fanfiction I wrote in high school.  Well, tough luck.   I will, however share two good authors if you’re looking for fiction to read.  As I’ve mentioned here before, I love Eliezer Yudkowsky and his series Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  I also really enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s Draco Trilogy (a little hard to track down, now that Clare’s a bestselling YA author, but it’s better than her original works).


And, finally, I’d like to end with another song about the bond between Quirrell and Voldemort.  This one’s from A Very Potter Musical and, as you’ll see if you watch it, it makes the objectively correct costuming decision.

[Seven Quick Takes is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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  • You look very proper and serious presenting your family trees!I'm still in a British fog after last night. I do hope that more people dressed up for the premiere where you were. I think it would be fair to say only about 20% dressed up at my theater. Dagon too-cool-for-that teenagers.

  • That's so awesome you dressed up.And I also read your about me and you are starting RCIA in the fall? I'm also dating a devout Catholic guy and was planning on starting in the fall, whether I wait a year or two years all depends on my family, but I find your blog very interesting.Will continue to read and follow your blog!

  • Oh yes, the midnight show was excellent. But there is not enough coffee in the world to help me produce and critical thinking today.

  • I can't wait to see it, but I'm too fuddy-duddy to go to a midnight show…having three little kids will do that to a person. They get up at the crack of dawn no matter what time I go to bed.In fact, I'm too fuddy-duddy to go the first week…I hate crowds. I'm hoping next Friday we'll have a babysitter and can go to the late show. I love your post. I may have to go check out the H.P. essays. (Hey, H.P! 😉 )Oh yes, and please tell us what you thought of the movie!

  • well- I'M so fuddy duddy, that we'll probablt wait for the DVD (I know, ouch)– we save the $12 babysitters for Lord of the Rings and that's about it.

  • My siblings and I listen to a Very Potter Musical all the time and my cousin shared wrock with us. I'm seeing it tomorrow!! Amen to number 3. 🙂

  • Heh, my 7 Quick Takes are HP-themed too. :)Leah, have you read the fanfic series "Paradigm of Uncertainty"? It's A/U, and sadly unfinished, but it's amazing.No midnight showing for us; we're going on Tuesday afternoon. I can't wait! I need to find time to watch HP 7 part I this weekend.

  • Anonymous

    The genetic theory of wizardry sounds like it might be a useful resource for science teachers. Anything to get the kids interested!I for one would be interested to see it uploaded.

  • Hibernia86

    Yeah, I think the genetic theory would be interesting considering that you said in your overview on the site that it is complicated enough to deal with the different scenarios we see.