A couple of days ago, I started listening to a new podcast "Harry Potter and the Scared Text." Produced by "Nightvale Presents,"
each episode discusses one chapter of my favorite book series at a time, while analyzing each chapter through a certain lens. So far, I've already listened through the first book. 18 chapters worth of podcast episodes. While I have some questions, like how they come about choosing whichever lens per chapter - for example, "destiny" while talking about the "through the trapdoor" chapter. However, listening to their analysis has shaped the way I will start to start to read moving forward.
A key practice that is a part of most episodes is when they perform lectio divinia, in which the is the practice of choosing a random line or phrase from the chapter, and analyzing it in four ways: the literal meaning, allegorical influence, find mirroring personal experiences, and finding the true meaning of the text. As someone who has read the Harry Potter series multiple times, this made me reflect on how there are different ways to not only read into a situations (ie: through a lens), but just how important it is to add meaning to words.
Some parallels I was able to obtain that I never thought about were how the burden of expectation (which is the lens this particular chapter was being analyzed through) is what bonds Harry and Ron together when they first meet. Ron's expectations are from his family, whom he feels overshadowed by, as they are all outstanding in their own fields. Harry's, as readers know, is from the rest of the wizarding world as he is viewed a beacon of hope. Continuing through the lens of expectation, shortly after in this chapter, Scabbers, an otherwise "useless" or "lazy" rat subverted expectations by biting a bully on the finger.
Similarly, a couple of chapters later, betrayal is the theme. In the story, the first years are undergoing their first flying lesson and Draco Malfoy steals a personal item of Neville's. When Harry is able to retrieve it, Draco challenges him yet again, but then betrays him by not showing up, and instead alerting a staff member to catch him instead. However, what was a more interesting observation is after Harry was able to successfully land with the retrieved possession, he is caught by the stern Professor McGonagall. She then betrays her own lawful nature by not only exempting him from all punishment, but rewarding him by placing him on the Quidditch team.
Overall, this addictive podcast has made me realize the importance of not only understanding what you read, but adding emphasis and interpretations (personal or not) to context, which then helps personalize the material as you're able to resonate with it.