Students no longer have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to learn all there is to know about science-fiction literature. Instead, they can do it from the comfort of their living room (more specifically, the comfort of their pajamas). Signum University isn’t just an online college: it’s a university entirely dedicated to the study of genre fiction from a literary, historical, and philosophical perspective. Talk about the ultimate fantasy—which, of course, is also a subject. So, congratulations, genre nerds! (Of course, I say that with the utmost affection.) You can now put “majored in Tolkien” in your Tinder bio and mean it.
Yes, Signum University’s logo looks like it should be adorning the cover of a Hunger Gamesnovel. Signum University’s specializations include Tolkien Studies; Imaginative Literature; Classic, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature; and Germanic Philology (the study of Germanic languages). Each of these programs falls under the M.A. in Language & Literature, an accredited program of graduate study. While the degree takes two to seven years to complete depending on the number of credits per semester—which can vary due to work or financial reasons-students are welcome to audit single classes for drastically reduced costs. You may not be able to major in Star Wars, but you can take an academic course on it.
Image Via Time Magazine
Other courses of note include Sherlock, Science, and Ratiocination; Literary Copernicus: The Cosmic Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft; The Potter Saga; and Tolkien’s World of Middle-earth. Though degree credits are more expensive, individual, twelve-week courses can cost as little as $95—for some, that’s a small price to pay for a world of information (or several, as the case may be). Cory Olsen, the university’s founder, said that the ideal students are working professionals who want to take the courses for “personal enrichment.” That enrichment, it seems, isn’t about getting rich—there probably aren’t a lot of entry-level jobs in Tolkien Studies. But you can study the Harry Potter franchise and make your coursework magical.
Image Via Signum University
Though early in its certification process, Signum University‘s New Hampshire accreditation is its first step to national official recognition, which would allow the institution to begin conferring master’s degrees nationwide. Let’s hope this degree program also moves out of this country—that would only make sense when it’s already out of this world!
In Nottingham Prison, the inmates are book fiends.
As part of a recent investment, the prison—deemed one of London’s “most challenging” correctional facilities—spent £1.4 million on a specialized drug testing machine. Apparently, the machine was worth the expense: not only did it detect a drug-smuggling operation, but it also gave us the wild story of just how mind-blowing Harry Potter can be. When the results came in, authorities determined that the inmates weren’t just hooked on reading.
Image Via BBc
The newly-purchased machine detected a “spice-like substance” sprayed onto the pages of J.K. Rowling’s childhood classic (and no, we’re not talking cardamom). Officials believe the book was doctored outside of the prison and then sent to inmates, a gift as seemingly—and falsely—innocent as Harry Potter fanfiction. By the time guards detected the deception, four hundred pages were missing from the volume. Authorities suspect inmates smoked the missing pages—guess the book was so good, they burned right through it.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has sworn to step down if prison conditions fail to improve. Although six of the ten prisons involved in the reforms have markedly changed their conditions, Nottingham remains one of two problem prisons, each “dangerous, disrespectful and drug ridden.” Yup, definitely the last one.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is known far and wide for his sense of humour, which shone in a recent ‘Autocomplete’ interview with WIRED in which he responded to some of Google’s most searched questions about him. One particular question asked ‘is Daniel Radcliffe the new Wolverine?’ to which the actor responded:
“There’s going to be a new Wolverine movie, in which it starts off with Hugh Jackman being put into a hot wash, and then when he comes out, it’s me. So yes, I’m very happy to announce that here.”
Radcliffe is frequently ‘dream-cast’ in the role of Wolverine, however nothing official has been confirmed since it was announced that Hugh Jackman would be relinquishing the role.
WIRED hosted Daniel Radcliffe for an eventful Q&A session in which the Harry Potter icon finally revealed his favorite film of the franchise: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
“I love the last one, but I also really love the fifth, which is not a lot of people’s favorite, I kind of realize,” Radcliffe explained. “I love it because of the relationship between Harry and Sirius, and you get a lot of Gary Oldman in that movie.”
While Order of the Phoenix was not as epic as its predecessor, The Goblet of Fire, or as nerve-racking as The Half-Blood Prince (You remember why), it is hard to argue with the fact that extra screen time with the legendary Gary Oldman has to be an actor’s dream come true. Also, the Harry and Sirius relationship really was the saving grace of the franchise’s filler-like chapter.
“That was my favorite one,” He added. “Probably to film as well. We had a really, really good time making that one.”
Going back to The Half-Blood Prince, you can grab tickets to a limited New York City screening of the film here.
Image via Digital Spy
Thank you for answering one of the internet’s biggest mysteries, Daniel Radcliffe.
While it’s true that the beloved trio of Harry Potter protagonists suffers pretty significantly in every instalment, an actual death would have been too much for fans to take. It was bad enough when Hedwig died—worse still when fans had to suffer through every agonizing second of Dobby’s seriously unfortunate demise. Fortunately, nothing permanently bad ever happened to any of them (besides, of course, the dead parents, the forcing your parents to forget you’re alive, the extremely dead brother). But we came pretty close to what would have been the most horrifying book of the series: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Children’s Tears.
JK Rowling initially planned for none among the trio to die—it was the least she could do, given all the characters she didn’t spare. (Fred? Dumbledore?? Sirius???) But as she struggled emotionally during the course of her writing, the story began to take a darker turn. She revealed:
Midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn’t have done it].
Gifs Via Tenor
Though this is one of the darker details that didn’t make it into the final version of the series, it’s not the only one—just the worst! Since the series’ release, Rowling has revealed many more details that fans would have loved to see in the series. (An actually gay Dumbledore, anyone? You still have your chance, JK.) One such revelation was more amusing than many of the others: that Rowling always considered Ron Weasley “a boy who would definitely swear.” Unfortunately, her editors considered him a boy who definitely didn’t—at least, not in front of the series’ young, impressionable readers.
We’re lucky that Ron didn’t die, but we all also wish we could have seen (or heard!) him follow the f*cking spiders.