Synopses & Reviews
A philosophical exploration of the entire seven-book Harry Potter
Harry Potter has been heralded as one of the most popular book series of all time and the philosophical nature of Harry, Hermione, and Ron's quest to rid the world of its ultimate evil is one of the many things that make this series special. The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy covers all seven titles in J.K. Rowling's groundbreaking series and takes fans back to Godric's Hollow to discuss life after death, to consider what moral reasoning drove Harry to choose death, and to debate whether Sirius Black is a man or a dog.
With publication timed to coincide with the release of the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), this book will be the definitive guide for all fans looking to appreciate the series on a deeper level.
- Covers a range of intriguing topics such as the redemption of Severus Snape, the power of love, and destiny in the wizarding world
- Gives you a new perspective on Harry Potter characters, plot lines, and themes
- Makes a perfect companion to the Harry Potter books and movies
Packed with interesting ideas and insights, The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy is an ideal companion for anyone interested in unraveling the subtext and exploring the greater issues at work in the story.
"Succeeds spectacularly. . . Olsen's highly accessible writing on such a beloved classic will appeal to Tolkien fans at all academic levels, while the detailed and thoughtful analysis of the original text will keep literary scholars and fantasy lovers engaged." -- Library Journal
"I cannot imagine a more patient, astute and well-informed guide to the world of The Hobbit than Corey Olson. His readers are lucky." - Patrick Curry, author of Defending Middle-earth "Sharing Corey Olsen's personal view of The Hobbit is like having a long conversation with someone who shares the love of a favourite book and is excited to talk about it. His exploration of the journey of Bilbo Baggins will encourage readers to think more deeply about Tolkien's classic tale." -- Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, authors of The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien "Most readers race through The Hobbit at breakneck speed, drawn onward by the exciting plot. Professor Olsen encourages us to slow down and take the scenic route, savoring each chapter. Through close, careful explication, he points out significant details and draws attention to hidden themes; he's particularly good at pointing out how Tolkien uses poems as characterization. Recommended to hobbit-fanciers everywhere." - John D. Rateliff, author of The History of the Hobbit "An admirable and thought-provoking consideration of the underlying themes of The Hobbit, following the there-and-back-again progress from its famous first line on through to Bilbo's return home at the story's end." -- Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit " Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's ‘The Hobbit moves step by step through the text, explaining references, pointing out themes and clearly and carefully showing how Tolkien's book—although one of the most beloved children's book of the past century—isn't just for kids. Neither is Olsen's book, which will be as useful to adult readers as it is to students." - Michael Drout, Editor of J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf and the Critics and the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia
"In clear, accessible language uncluttered with academic jargon, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit does just that. Corey Olsen conducts the reader on a guided tour through this seminal work, pointing out crucial plot points and themes, analyzing characters, acquainting first-time readers with the appeal of Tolkien's bumbling hero, and helping returning readers enjoy Tolkien's classic even more more. An informative companion to an enduring classic." - Verlyn Flieger, author of Green Suns and Faërie
"Tolkiens roads, it seems, go ever, ever on, but with as amiable and knowledgeable a guide as Olsen, the weather remains fine and the journey sweet." - Kirkus
"A work of love backed up by professional experience, this book is packed with information; the authors infectious enthusiasm pervades his words, ensuring that what could have been a dry work in other hands will retain even a casual readers interest. The result is a text suitable for fans and scholars alike." - Publishers Weekly
Is it always wrong to use a love potion?
Is death something to be feared . . . or "mastered"?
What can Severus Snape teach us about the possibility of redemption?
Is love the most powerful magic of all?
J. K. Rowling's wildly popular Harry Potter books may appear to be simple children's tales on the surface, but like Hogwarts, they conceal many hidden chambers, trapdoors, and perplexing secrets. Drawing on all seven books in the Harry Potter series, The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy offers a powerful brew of insights about good and evil, love, death, power, sacrifice, and hope. Is it true, as Dumbledore says, that our choices reveal far more about us than our abilities do? Is there an afterlife, and what might it be like? Here's a Pensieve for your thoughts. So take a healthy slug of Baruffio's Brain Elixir and join Bassham's Army of talented philosophers in exploring the mind-stretching deeper questions of the Potter books and films.
To learn more about the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series, visit www.andphilosophy.com
BLACKWELL PHILOSOPHY AND POP CULTURE SERIES
This book has not been approved, licensed, or sponsored by any entity or person involved in creating or producing Harry Potter, the book series, or films.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is an insightful companion volume to the original work, designed to bring a thorough and unique new reading of The Hobbit to a general audience. Corey Olsen, host of the popular podcast "The Tolkien Professor," takes readers on a compelling, in-depth tour of Tolkien's novel, illuminating the secrets and stories behind the characters within the enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings.
"An admirable and thought-provoking consideration of the underlying themes of The Hobbit, following the there-and-back-again progress from its famous first line on through to Bilbo's return home at the story's end." -- Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit The Hobbit
is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the twentieth century. Now Corey Olsen takes readers deep within the text to uncover its secrets and delights.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkiens “The Hobbit” is a fun, thoughtful, and insightful companion volume designed to bring a thorough and original new reading of this great work to a general audience. Professor Corey Olsen takes readers on an in-depth journey through The Hobbit chapter by chapter, revealing the stories within the story: the dark desires of dwarves and the sublime laughter of elves, the nature of evil and its hopelessness, the mystery of divine providence and human choice, and, most of all, the transformation within the life of Bilbo Baggins. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkiens “The Hobbit” is a book that will make The Hobbit come alive for readers as never before.
About the Author
is chair of the Philosophy Department and a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is coeditor of the forthcoming The Hobbit and Philosophy
and has coedited The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy, The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy,
and Basketball and Philosophy.
WILLIAM IRWIN is a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles, including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Tom Morris.
Acknowledgments: Some House Points I'd Like to Make.
Introduction: Harry Potter and the Enchantment of Philosophy.
PART ONE The Horcrux of the Matter: Destiny, Identity, and the Soul.
1 The Soul in Harry Potter (Scott Sehon).
2 Sirius Black: Man or Dog? (Eric Saidel).
3 Destiny in the Wizarding World (Jeremy Pierce).
PART TWO The Most Powerful Magic of All.
4 Choosing Love: The Redemption of Severus Snape (Catherine Jack Deavel and David Paul Deavel).
5 Love Potion No. 9¾ (Gregory Bassham).
6 Harry Potter, Radical Feminism, and the Power of Love (Anne Collins Smith).
PART THREE Potterwatch: Freedom and Politics.
7 Patriotism, House Loyalty, and the Obligations of Belonging (Andrew P. Mills).
8 Dumbledore's Politics (Beth Admiraal and Regan Lance Reitsma).
9 Dumbledore, Plato, and the Lust for Power (David Lay Williams and Alan J. Kellner).
PART FOUR The Room of Requirement: A Potter Potpourri.
10 Is Dumbledore Gay? Who's to Say? (Tamar Szabó Gendler).
11 Choices vs. Abilities: Dumbledore on Self-Understanding (Gregory Bassham).
12 The Magic of Personal Transformation (S. Joel Garver).
13 Just in Your Head? J. K. Rowling on Separating Reality from Illusion (John Granger with Gregory Bassham).
14 A Pensieve for Your Thoughts? Harry Potter and the Magic of Memory (Amy Kind).
15 A Hogwarts Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Gregory Bassham).
PART FIVE Beyond the Veil: Death, Hope, and Meaning.
16 The Real Secret of the Phoenix: Moral Regeneration through Death (Charles Talia).
17 Beyond Godric's Hollow: Life after Death and the Search for Meaning (Jonathan L. Walls and Jerry L. Walls).
18 Why Harry and Socrates Decide to Die: Virtue and the Common Good (Michael W. Austin).
Contributors: The Hogwarts (for Muggles) Faculty.
The Marauder's Index.