Wands at the ready for CPP students

By Caity Hansen

Apart from appearing in showings of the two most recent “Harry
Potter” films on campus, the famous fictional wizard will be the
subject of an English class offered in the fall.

The Harry Potter phenomenon took off in the late 1990s, after
the release of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Stone.”

More than a decade later, the books and films are all
high-ranking on best-seller lists.

Classes discussing Rowling’s books are becoming more common
across the United States, and now, thanks to Professor Melissa
Aaron of the English and Foreign Language Department, CPP has its
very own Harry Potter course to look forward to.

The upper division special topic course will be titled “Harry
Potter as Literature and Cultural Studies,” and students enrolled
in the class will be expected to have read all seven books before
the start of the quarter.

“If you haven’t read all seven books, you will never catch up
inside one busy fall quarter,” said Aaron.

Students are expected to have seen the movies as well.

The class will consist of weekly writing assignments, frequent
quizzes to make sure students have actually read the books and a
cumulative activity at the end of the quarter.

Aaron proposed the course as a combination of her trainings in
the Renaissance and children’s literature.

Last fall, Aaron submitted her idea to the department curriculum
committee and the college curriculum committee. It was passed
without any real controversy.

“Many other colleges and universities offer courses structured
around the ‘Harry Potter’ books, so it wasn’t as big a stretch as
it might seem,” said Aaron.

Aaron says she has been attending midnight showings of the
movies since “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was released,
and she has even been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in
Florida, which opened in June of last year.

“The Butterbeer was a lot better than I expected,” said Aaron,
referring the popular fictional drink from the series that has been
brought to life for theme park guests.

Coincidentally, ASI happened to be sharing the magic this month
too, in the form of two movie-showings.

Approximately 20 students dared to brave the chilly 64-degree
weather Tuesday night to enjoy “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
Prince” in University Park.

Free bags of popcorn were available, and some students showed up
with blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the 2009 flick.

For anyone who missed the fifth film’s outdoor viewing, part one
of the final movie of the series will be shown tonight in the BSC
at 8 p.m.

ASI BEAT Adviser Maria-Lisa Flemington said that the films being
shown just after the class was made available was purely a
coincidence.

“The films chair asked what films the committee was interested
in and Harry Potter was one of them,” said Flemington.

Flemington suspected the low attendance was due to the event
being held outside and at night.

Daniela Dykes, operations chair of BEAT and a second-year
political science student, said the ASI team put up a lot of
advertising for both showings.

Both Dykes and Flemington expect a stronger turnout for
tonight’s showing.

The most recent film of the series, part one of “Harry Potter
and the Deathly Hallows,” was released in November 2010 and is
currently the tenth highest grossing film of all time.

The ASI showing is free to everyone on campus and students who
come dressed in wizard attire could win a bundle of “limited
edition BEAT swag.”

Wands at the ready for CPP students

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Wands at the ready for CPP students

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