Jennifer Sheffield of Big Blue Marble interviewed Lorrie Kim for the July 30, 2016 release party of Snape: A Definitive Reading. The full text is on the bookstore blog.
What kinds of insights have you gained about the series from other people’s presentations?
I have such clear memories of moments when other people’s arguments inspired me. I mention a couple of them in the book. For example, in 2009, I heard psychologist Mara Tesler Stein explain that a Patronus is a mirror of one’s most loving self, and that when Harry first attempts to cast one, he can’t because he’s using the wrong kind of memories. When he uses memories of loving connection between people, the spell works. That stunned me – there are right and wrong kinds of memories for happiness spells? It opened my eyes to the way Rowling uses magical imagery to express psychological truths. It made so many readings possible to me. It helped me understand that when Rowling shows people emanating silvery magical light, it has to do with their individual selves – she might say “souls” – but when she shows golden light, it’s about the glow that comes of love between people. Which helped me understand why the dome of light between Voldemort and Harry is golden, and how that threatens Voldemort. Which made me think about wand cores connected through golden light, and how Harry and Voldemort are similar at the core. Which made me think about Hufflepuff colors of yellow and black, which gave me the notion that one trait of Hufflepuffs is that they believe we are all the same at the core.
This cascading effect of mental connections happens to me so frequently when I listen to other people’s presentations based on a text we have in common. I know I’ve had similar reactions listening to Hilary K. Justice or Mark Oshiro. It doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with that person’s readings, just that their way of seeing illuminates something for me and brings more and more understanding.