THE POETRY OF HARRY POTTER (SPOILER ALERT). Annalisa sent me this article by Emma Lord which quotes the explication by Tumblr user tomhiddles of Snape’s first words to Harry Potter. Snape poses a question: “Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” Says tomhiddles: “According to Victorian Flower Language, asphodel is a type of lily meaning ‘My regrets follow you to the grave’ and wormwood means ‘absence’ and also typically symbolized bitter sorrow. If you combined that, it meant ‘I bitterly regret Lily’s death’. Emma Lord elaborates on the explication by tracing some of the significance of asphodel and wormwood in Greek mythology.
This is the kind of critical reading that is applied without question to imagery and myth in the writings of Keats and Shakespeare. I think the analysis is brilliant and shows that J.K.Rowling bears critical scrutiny.