The Inklings and Mr. Rogers Explain the Source of Music’s Power

Periodically, I teach a survey-style course on the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. One of our long-running discussion topics in the class is music: both authors’ works are filled with it. What’s more, when both authors give us creation accounts of their worlds–Middle-Earth in The Silmarillion, and Narnia in Magician’s Nephew–both worlds […]

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What Movies Miss About Marriage

I’ve already professed my love for The Greatest Showman. Let me tell you now about something surprising it exposed about me. “A Million Dreams” is the love song between Phineas and Charity. It starts when they are children and time-hops into their young adulthood, when Phineas picks her up from her parents’ home and they […]

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Laws of Magic: Less is More

It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it, that magic—this concept that makes possibilities endless—can actually be better when you give it boundaries? Part of the lure of magic is that it’s mysterious, right? Not necessarily. The draw of fantasy for many is not only passively experiencing, but learning a new world: understanding it well enough to work out […]

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I am Umbridge

Ask me to choose a part of Harry Potter that is “not fun,” and my first reaction will probably be to stare at you blankly, my jaw slightly ajar, wondering why you’re asking unanswerable questions. When pressed, I might begin reluctantly admitting that certain parts of the Potterverse are less fun: maybe Dursleys? Maybe Draco? […]

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