There are 2 entire essays about eyeballs guys.

The Deathly Hallows Lectures – Written by John Granger, published in 2008

This is a follow-up book the last two Granger books, which focuses entirely on Deathly Hallows.

Unlike Mapping the World of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice which I found benefitted from being part of a giant reading project The Deathly Hallows Lectures and the next two books by John Granger which will make up parts 7 & 8 of this series, suffered for it. They were written (perfectly sensibly) as stand alone books, not an interlinked series, because what kind of weirdo would read five books about Harry Potter by the same guy all in a row right? But the result of that perfectly rational decision, is that there’s a huge amount of repeated content which I ended up skimming through going “yep, yep, yep, done this bit, gimme something else”. But I’ve got no one by myself to blame for that.

So it starts off with a speedy recap of the five keys to Harry Potter which I had just literally finished reading, and then springboarded into fitting Deathly Hallows into the alchemical symbolism cycle set up in Unlocking Harry Potter which it does very well.

As much as I find it hilarious that there were two entire essays about eyeballs (one generally about eyes and mirrors one specifically about Snape and Dante, a combination I still find to be something of a stretch) both of them were great. Each essay is really well and clearly written, and while it doesn’t have the same iron-clad organization as Unlocking Harry Potter they do flow incredibly well from one to the next.

There’s one specific point, taken from the sixth chapter I’m going to pull out and focus on, because I feel a desperate and pressing need to bash the entirety of Harry Potter fandom over the head and shoulders with it.

“As we discussed in the previous chapter, a symbol (especially in the literary tradition post-Coleridge) is not a stand-in simile (“tit for tat”) or metaphor (“x” is another way of saying “y”). Symbols are transparencies, even windows, through which veiled realities can be seen by the discerning eye.”

Nothing in Harry Potter means only one thing. Every character, every event and every place is pulling a double or triple shift in terms of meaning. I have seen so many aggravating analyses of Harry Potter which start from the premise that some part of Harry Potter is a direct stand in for some other thing, and that all other analyses about that is wrong. And its so frustrating, and its such a boring way of going about things. Take a leaf out of this book (not literally) and adopt the 15-symbol pile-up into your life, okay guys.

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