Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published November 06, 2016

Harry Potter opinions …

… and where to find them at Monmouth College
  • Characters from J.K. Rowling’s upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Monmouth College’s own Harry Potter experts share tempered enthusiasm about the spin-off.
Many Harry Potter fans are anticipating the release later this month of the spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The recent news that the spin-off film franchise will most likely yield five movies has fanned their interest.

For many Potter fans, that is exciting news. Monmouth College’s own Harry Potter experts share tempered enthusiasm about the spin-off.

Faculty members Christine Myers and Anne Mamary, who have both taught the College’s Harry Potter Reflections course, plan on seeing the new film once it is released and deciding from there whether the series is worth continuing to watch. If the movies are good, they believe, fans will continue to watch them.

Mamary, who is a professor of philosophy and religious studies, created the Potter course after noticing how many students’ lives had been affected by the novels and films. She wanted to see how the books grew with the readers.

“They are filled with delightful stories and adventures but are also filled with many issues about which we might reflect,” Mamary said of the books she grew to love, as well. “There are many problems that come up in these novels that deal with friendship, love and standing up for what is right even when it is not easy.”

Mamary said she enjoys the careful planning of Rowling, such as the textbooks in the book series having their own intricate backstory. She encourages everyone to read the books one more time and examine the true nature of the stories rather than the more obvious fan commentary.

Myers is very curious to see how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will turn out and where the plot of the films gets taken. She hopes that if the story is compelling enough, there will be promise for the new material. Myers believes that if the film is of high quality, it may complement the original novels and movies rather than distract from them.

Myers taught a section of the Reflections course last year, which led to her Summer Opportunity for Intellectual Activity (SOFIA) project this summer called “Writing the History of Harry Potter.”

The project focused mainly on “the story of the rise and fall of Lord Voldemort using only the primary and secondary source materials within the novels,” said Myers, who teaches history. However, her student group faced challenges because of the lack of official documentation, meaning there were events they could not prove historically.

“I was able to utilize what I had learned as an English major and History minor,” said Megan Horack ’17 of Kewanee, Ill., one of the students who helped Myers with the SOFIA project. “I studied the text in-depth for primary source information, and I helped edit and proofread the final product to print and post online. It was almost like ‘back to basics,’ but I was using three years’ worth of college education.”
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