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Theories about Pottermore, part 2

(Click here for part one)

The Engineer: Pottermore? That’s a rubbish name.
Me: Oh?
TE: Potter and more? Rubbish. She must have some reason for picking that ending.
Me: Hmm…..

Two minutes later, I had discovered that Google unhelpfully does not allow you to put a * before a syllable to indicate all words ending in that syllable. It must have some other way of doing this. But Wikipedia does! And typing in “*more” brings up various interesting things.

The first interesting thing I found was Canmore.

Canmore is an online database maintained by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. It contains information on 240,000 archaeological sites, monuments, and buildings in Scotland.

The words in bold are my theories there. No, I don’t think JKR is going to provide us with a Harry Potter database. But an encyclopedia is kind of like a database, right? And JKR has been known to refer to her encyclopedia as “the Scottish book” on her website (look under FAQs to find it)

Now, why is Canmore called that? Well, I couldn’t find out for sure (leave a comment if you know!) but a strong likelihood is that it is named after two kings of Scotland, and their descendants. The name means Big Head in Gaelic. Evidently in Gaelic you put adjectives second, because it’s actually cenn that means head, while mór means big (as in claymore, big sword). Shame, because the name Potterhead (in Gaelic) would be very appropriate for a fansite. However, the name is actually Big Potter – if I’m right that the reference is to Scottish Gaelic, of course. Big Potter could mean just about anything but it would definitely be appropriate for an encyclopedia.

So that’s Theory One.

Theory Two is simpler (I think). Lots of towns in the English-speaking world are called something-more. Aviemore, for instance. (Here, the more is still often from the same Gaelic root as before) So Pottermore is Pottertown, so it’s a forum-type thing, or possibly an RPG. I would like it to be this because it’s more fun for the kids who missed out on the amazing and sadly now-defunct Godric’s Hollow rpg, but I would prefer it to be the Encyclopedia because that would be way more interesting for me. And would also mean that maybe the reasoning behind my first theory – a reasoning I haven’t seen anywhere else yet – was right.

But whatever it ends up being, I’m grateful to JKR for giving us all the excitement of the wait and the chance to theorise one more time. Thanks Jo!
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Theories about Pottermore

Pottermore? That’s a rubbish name.

Thus quoth my husband upon hearing of the excitement surrounding J.K.Rowling’s newest gift to her fans. But before going further I should explain I came to consider myself a fan of this book series, rather than just an avid reader.

When J.K. Rowling’s sixth and seventh Harry Potter books had not yet come out, and I was an unemployed expatriate stay-at-home-mother-to-be, I used to go on an internet forum where we would theorise about the clues JKR might have left for us in the books already written, and try to work out what might happen next. Might Remus Lupin end up with Nymphadora Tonks? Would one of the Weasley family die – and if so, which one? Were Ron and Hermione meant to be, or was that just a distraction from the real Harry-Hermione romance? (In case you’re wondering, yes they were, and no it wasn’t.) And other, deeper questions as well – of course I don’t remember those!

Before joining that forum, which I came across by accident through MuggleNet, I had read the books at face value. They were a good read to pass the time and I loved the references to real mythology (I still can’t get over the American publishers’ changing the title of the first book to “HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, when there is no such thing as a sorcerer’s stone, whereas “the Philosopher’s Stone” actually has historical meaning. Tch.) But the New Clues forum gave a new depth to the reading – as well as helping pass the time while my husband was at work! You can only do so much cleaning in one house. Seeing that so many of the clue-based guesses turned out to be right in Book Six got me even more interested. If you don’t quite see how that could be a worthwhile way to spend my time, let me ask you this: do you enjoy murder mysteries? If you do, you can probably see that trying to guess before the author tells you is quite compelling, and getting it right can be a kick for someone like me who doesn’t drink or do drugs. 🙂

Anyway, all of that is in the past now. I made some good online friends through it, developed my critical thinking skills (and conspiracy-seeking skills, most likely!) and generally had a great time. And as a full-time mother of two, I don’t miss it, most of the time.

But now, there is Pottermore. What is it? We don’t know. We’ll find out on the 23rd… which means JKR has once again given us the chance to create wild, inventive, crazy, highly unlikely theories about what is going to happen. Alongside perfectly reasonable, plausible and accurate ones. I’d like to think that my theory, which I will discuss in my next post here, falls in the latter category, but we shall see!
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JKR’s dinner party

We know that in the past at least, Remus Lupin was JKR’s favourite character – or was it the one she thought nicest; either way…

when listing the 5 HP-people she would invite to a dinner party, she did not list him.

What does anyone think?

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exceeds expectations – so they’re hoping we’ll sit their “next and more difficult exam in due course”??? Is that a JKR-promise do you reckon?

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Pratchett vs Rowling – or is it?

I just came on to write about the BBC article about Pratchett and JKR.
Anyone who knows me knows these are my two favourite authors, I’ve read everything by both of them, so here are my thoughts on Pratchett’s comments

When I heard Pratchett was “angry at Rowling’s rise” I was annoyed because I don’t see why authors have to complain about each other’s success like that. This was, I hasten to add, before I read the BBC article.

But having read the article, to be fair I think he does have a point. Time magazine claimed that JKR “reinvented fantasy fiction” – but actually, Pratchett has been writing completely non-standard fantasy for over 30 years, it’s decidedly more subversive than JKRs – in fact, I don’t think hers is very subversive at all. You still have knights, ladies and dragons, they’re just under different names with HP. Whereas with Pratchett he really does change all the preconceptions, and makes very good points, whilst being very witty and amusing too. There literally is no other fantasy writer in the same league as him for that sort of thing.

So I can see why he’s ticked off, but I think it was the way Time reported about it in the first place that’s to blame, and I actually think that’s more the point he was making. He didn’t say she didn’t deserve the fame, he said that the media was focusing on her whilst ignoring other fantasy writers – can anyone honestly say that isn’t the case?
He also did not say that it was her fault that the media were doing this, as far as I can see, although obviously I’d have to see his original letter to be sure.

It’s not her fault if the media idolise her above other fantasy writers and act like all other fantasy is just geeky, and it’s not her fault if Time stupidly assume no one else has ever subverted the fantasy genre. That’s just Time being dense and not doing their research properly – and Pratchett didn’t say otherwise.

In fact it looks like the only comment Pratchett actually directed at JKR herself was the one about her not realising it was fantasy; probably she just hadn’t thought about what it was but it’s hardly a great insult even so is it? He hasn’t exactly said that she’s an evil cow who hasn’t got a clue – unlike certain elements of her fan-base, I might add. 😉

ETA: having now read the full text of the letter (see Mugglenet for details), I’m still of exactly the same opinion I was. He has not said that she should not be elevated, he has merely said that other writers also deserve recognition (he doesn’t even mention his own track record) – and he is absolutely right. And to all those on Mugglenet, and presumably elsewhere, who are now thinking and posting “oh I will never read a Pratchett book ever” or “I shall burn his books the second I get chance”… guess which JKR-haters you sound just likeGET A GRIP!

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