When MuggleNet, the world's No. 1 Harry Potter website, decided to open a new section called MuggleNet Academia and to offer a regular podcast with experts in the study of literature, the organizers made their first call to Suzanne Keen, the Thomas H. Broadus Professor of English at Washington and Lee.
Back in February, on the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, Suzanne made the point in an interview that many of today's students grew up reading Harry Potter and, as a consequence, have a much better appreciation for Dickens. That story on the W&L website was picked up by Mugglenet and other Potter-related sites. One thing led to another, and Suzanne was the featured guest on the inaugural monthly MuggleNet Academic podcast.
Suzanne was joined by John Granger, known as the Hogwarts Professor, an expert on the series who spoke at W&L last November; Rosie Morris, senior student of literature at Kent University in England; and Keith Hawk, of MuggleNet.
The hour-long conversation touched on a variety of topics, including the question of whether or not the series' author, J.K. Rowling, knew from the start how all the books in the series would come out.
The podcast, which has nearly 2,000 Facebook shares, is available for free on iTunes.