Potter And The Unique Podcast
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A year ago, my roommate walked in on me watching Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban as part of my need to read the books again and watch the movies to compare afterwards (because #hobbies). She then asked me, “Have you started listening to Harry Potter and The Sacred Text?”
At the time, no, but then I finished the books, movies, got sorted into my Hogwarts house (Gryffindor) and needed something to fill the void. And before you @ me, I am a proud owner of a wand.
So I listened, and got hooked.
I was on the fence about the podcast because I thought I needed to understand religion in order to enjoy it. However, the idea of a higher power has nothing to do with the weekly show.
The podcast team, who all attended Harvard Divinity School, utilizes traditional sacred reading practices not only to understand the story and characters, but to try and answer life’s big questions. The text in and of itself is not sacred but is made so through rigorous engagement and then gives us generous rewards.
One of those practices is florilegia, a monastic tradition of collecting what the podcast calls “sparklets,” or quotes from the text that you are particularly drawn to. In the monastic practice, the collection becomes a personalized psalm — in the podcast practice, the interplay of the quotes can offer insight into a person’s values, or what they feel they need.
The podcast works chronologically through the books, with each episode corresponding with a chapter. The hosts — after a 30 second recap of what happened in the chapter (hilarity often ensues) — open a conversation about the text through a particular theme. At a recent live event at the Oberon in Cambridge, they read “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” through the lens of failure (I was there, are you surprised?).
I guess what I’m getting at is, internalizing these tools strengthened my understanding not only about Harry Potter, but about other books. It also allowed me to be a part of a community that is welcoming and open to other opinions and ideas.
Regardless, I highly recommend you listen. It’s the English class you never knew you craved.
Posted by Cat