Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
By: Vanessa Zoltan, Casper ter Kuile & Ariana Nedelman
It’s the English class you didn't know you missed and the meaningful conversations you didn't know you craved. Join Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile as they bring thought, reflection and laughter to Harry Potter; not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives. Relive the magic chapter by chapter as they explore themes such as commitment, revenge and forgiveness. This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t just help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.
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In the final episode of season three, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They take some time to talk about Harry Potter himself, reflect on Voldemort's absence, and compare Draco to a young white supremacist. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about purity, justice, and identity formation. This episode is sponsored by Audible. Audible has the best audiobook performances, the largest library and the most exclusive content. We recommend you go listen to Harry Potter! We are also sponsored this week by BarkBox, which was very appreciated by Vanessa's dog, Rory. Next week, we're rounding out the season with a final Owl Post and a conversation about justice with lawyer Sejal Patel.
In the premiere episode of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Casper and Vanessa talk about why they are starting this project and analyze the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone through the theme of commitment.
Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Partnership in chapter eight of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". This week, Vanessa and Casper are joined by Lauren Taylor, co-author of The American Healthcare Paradox and fellow Harvard Divinity School alum. We discuss Fudge and Dumbledore's polarizing effect, Percy's place in the ministry, and give our first impressions of Dolores Umbridge. Our question this week is: how close can we actually get to the kind of 'divine' partnership described by philosophers?Next week we're reading chapter nine, The Woes of Mrs. Weasley, through the theme of Will Power. Don't forget to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows in Chicago, Austin, Cambridge, and Florida: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-events
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "Progress" in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This week we discuss whether owls are an obsolete technology, The Fountain of Magical Brethren, and the power of Mamma Mia. Our question this week is: is progress inevitable?Next week we're reading chapter eight, The Hearing, through the theme of Partnership. Thanks this week to Aya Ahmed for our voicemail.
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "memory" in chapter six of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Kreacher's institutional memory, Sirius's family tapestry, and whether or not you should cut an ex out of a photo. Our question this week is: what’s the difference between a memory and a record?Next week we're reading chapter seven, The Ministry of Magic, through the theme of Progress. Thanks this week to Rae Muhlstock for our voicemail.
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "gratitude" in chapter five of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Mundugus Fletcher's apology, Molly Weasley's protectiveness, and the memory of James Potter. Our question this week is: what should the timeline of gratitude look like?Next week we're reading chapter six, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, through the theme of Memory. Thanks this week to Miriam Wilks for our voicemail.
Vanessa and Casper examine the theme of "Anger" in chapter four of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Percy's betrayal, Ginny's coolness, and how badly Harry is treating his friends. Our question this week is: Is anger ever a productive emotion?Next week we're reading chapter five, The Order of the Phoenix, through the theme of Gratitude. Thanks this week to Beth Strickland for our voicemail.
Hi friends, we heard from our podcast network, Panoply, today that they will be dissolving their network. This means they'll no longer be selling ads on our show. It's scary news for us, because ad sales is the largest way that we make our business sustainable. We want to keep you posted as we move forward and hopefully find a new way to keep making this show that means so much to us. We love you and we're going to make this work together.
Vanessa and Casper return to the theme of "compassion" in chapter three of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss Tonk's hair, Moody's eyeball, and how Harry really needs a meditation practice. Our question this week is: How do we be compassionate to someone who doesn't want to receive it? Next week we're reading chapter four, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, through the theme of Anger. Thanks this week to Nikki Spencer for our voicemail.
Vanessa and Casper return to the theme of "frustration" in chapter two of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." This week we discuss the psychology of Mundungus Fletcher, the heroism of Mrs. Figg, and Dudley's crumbling sense of his own supremacy. Our question this week is: When does frustration enable learning? Next week we're reading chapter three, The Advance Guard, through the theme of compassion. Thanks this week to Rabbi Max Chaiken for our voicemail.
Vanessa and Casper dive into Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with the theme of belief. They discuss the breakdown of trust between Harry and the Dursleys, between Harry and his friends, and Harry and himself. Throughout the episode they consider the question: what makes us believe things, beyond just 'the facts'? This week, we're trying out a new spiritual practice: Marginalia. This week's voicemail is thanks to Emily Anderson. Be sure to check out our website harrypottersacredtext.com to buy tickets for our upcoming live shows and Vanessa's pilgrimage to Japan!
Season 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, launches on August 23rd. Vanessa and Casper get together to talk what they're looking forward to in Order of the Phoenix and share our season 5 trailer about Dolores Umbridge.