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A Magical Weekend at the Chestertown Harry Potter Festival

CHPFA while ago, I heard about a two-day Harry Potter festival in Chestertown, MD and automatically made the decision to make the journey there. Upon arriving, my first stop was the Garfield Theatre, which had been turned into Hogwarts for the day, to retrieve the festival map and scavenger hunt information. Ladies dressed in witch garb sat outside, brewing potions and setting up photo opportunities with a Hogwarts castle tapestry and a cutout of Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia after it crashed into the Whomping Willow.

Next, I began to venture up and down the streets of this small town in search of finding the missing items that were needed to complete the scavenger hunt. Along the way, I saw many businesses that had their usual signs replaced with the signage of  Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade Harry Potter shops. Not only were the storefronts transformed, the shop owners and workers also joined in and dressed in their best witch and wizard garb. One of the banks was converted into Honeydukes sweet shop, complete with Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Candy Floss, and Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum. A bed and breakfast became the Three Broomsticks and a local pub turned into the Leaky Cauldron–complete with a “Goblet of Fire” menu of Harry Potter inspired beverages. There was Flourish & Blotts, Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse, Madam Malkin’s, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, and–for those who dared enter–Borgin & Burkes. One of my favorites was the town drug store, which became Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, where a participant whipped me up a delicious butterbeer.

After marveling at the town’s tremendous efforts to bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life and completing the scavenger hunt, the final stop was to the town’s Fountain Park to check out the Harry Potter merchandise vendors, the musical entertainment–rockin’ bands called the Nargeleptics and Blibbering Humdingers–the dueling club that had formed, and the station where you could make your own broom and take it down to the square to join exciting games of Quidditch that had formed.

The turnout for this event was phenomenal. Families came from as far as Minnesota and Montana to check out the wonders that tiny Chestertown had to offer and to feed their Harry Potter appetites. The best part was seeing the next generation of Potter fans fully decked out in wizardwear and having just as good of a time as their parents. One mom, dressed as Tonks with purple hair, carried her small daughter who was wearing a tea cozy and elf ears to be Dobby. This event was truly fun for all ages, and I hope that it will continue for many years in the future! The Chestertown Festival is an annual event, so check out http://www.chestertownhpfest.org/ for any and all information regarding this year’s and next year’s festivals. Also, check out my photo gallery below!

We’d love to hear from you if you also attended this festival! Please leave your comments below.

Image courtesy of Chestertown Harry Potter Festival Facebook page

 

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The winner of the sixth Pottermore House Cup is…

 

Ravenclaw wins the sixth Pottermore House Cup!

Ravenclaw wins the sixth Pottermore House Cup!

On Friday, Pottermore announced the winner of the sixth Pottermore House Cup and once again Ravenclaw House proved victorious. Congratulations Eagles!

The final standings:

1st Place: Ravenclaw - 32,371,299 points

2nd Place: Gryffindor - 32,279,991 points

3rd Place: Hufflepuff – 32,259,036 points

4th Place: Slytherin - 31,926,625 points

This is Ravenclaw’s second consecutive win. The lions and badgers placed second and third, respectively, and Slytherin House fourth place for the first time.

As with last time, Pottermore has changed the previously purple Great Hall banners into royal blue, in honor of Ravenclaw winning the cup, . You can see how the Great Hall looks in the picture above.

Regarding the prize, Pottermore has not said anything about it yet. Predictably, it will be the first installment of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but there hasn’t been any word on the development on book five either. If any news is released about the prize for the Cup, we’ll be sure to bring it to you, so check back with Pottermore News for any updates.

Now, back to brewing and dueling! Good luck to all houses in the seventh (!!) House Cup competition…

Reminder: House Pride Week starts tomorrow

housepride14

Just a quick reminder that House Pride Week kicks off tomorrow, ahead of the Pottermore House Cup being rewarded on September 26.

During House Pride Week, a day is dedicated to each Hogwarts House for members to show their pride. Here are the dates for this week:

#GryffindorPride – Tuesday, September 16
#RavenclawPride – Wednesday, September 17
#HufflepuffPride – Thursday, September 18
#SlytherinPride – Friday, September 19

The Pottermore Insider provided community members with a few suggestions of how you can show your house pride:

  • Share what makes you proud to belong to your Hogwarts house using #GryffindorPride#RavenclawPride#HufflepuffPride or #SlytherinPride on Twitter and Facebook
  • Share your favourite quotes from the stories about your Hogwarts house and its characters
  • Change your profile and cover pictures on Facebook and Twitter to one of the downloadable images below, proudly displaying your house colors to all your friends

For all images pertaining to House Pride, please see this Insider post.

Again, we wish the best of luck to all the houses. May the odds be ever in your favor…

J.K. Rowling hints at Pottermore Patronus test on Twitter

J.K. Rowling (2014)

J.K. Rowling (2014)

Gone are the days when pen and paper were J.K. Rowling’s only priority…

The Harry Potter and Casual Vacancy author has been very active on Twitter these past few days, continuing to weigh in on the Scottish Referendum debate as well as replying to fans.

In the midst of all her tweets (there were a lot), she responded to one fan’s comment about wanting a test that would let someone choose their Patronus, tweeting, “Keep watching Pottermore…”

Since the start, Pottermore fans have been asking for a test like the Sorting Hat and wand questionnaire to choose their Patronus (or, at the very least, the option to choose their Patronus), and this is the first hint that it might become a reality. The test would likely be included in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when members of Dumbledore’s Army learn how to cast Patronuses. Relatedly, we also would not be surprised if the prize for the upcoming House Cup would be the first chapters of Order of the Phoenix, like Pottermore did last year around this time for Goblet of Fire. However, Dumbledore’s Army isn’t established until later in the book, so it’s unlikely that it would be in the first installment.

Moreover, be sure to keep an eye out on J.K. Rowling’s Twitter. As we said, she’s been replying to lots of fans and Scotland debaters, so there is a chance that she might reply to you. (!) The author even tweeted Luna Lovegood actress Evanna Lynch, in an amazing conversation that you can see here. To see more of her tweets and replies, click here.

What do you think your Patronus would be? How do you feel about this option being included on Pottermore? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Pottermore House Cup to be awarded September 26

 

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

On Friday, Pottermore announced that the sixth Pottermore House Cup will be awarded on September 26.

Pottermore users have three weeks to earn as many House Points as they can until the Hogwarts house with the most points is announced on Friday, September 26.

As with tradition, House Cup celebrations will include House Pride Week, during which a day is dedicated to each house for members’ to show their house pride on social networking sites. House Pride Week will kick off Tuesday, September 16 with #GryffindorPride, followed by #RavenclawPride, #HufflepuffPride, and #SlytherinPride. The Insider is set to give more details on how the community can get involved on Tuesday.

The Insider also included some helpful tips for earning House Points:

  • Revisit the interactive Moments and make sure your discovery bar is complete – every collectible you find (excluding Galleons) adds to your points

  • Make sure you practise duelling against your own house to master casting spells before you challenge the other houses, as every duel lost means more points to the opposing house!

  • Pay careful attention to the instructions for brewing potions before you begin – if you can’t remember the instructions, don’t forget to check the potion book

  • Get your fellow housemates involved! The more of you there are earning points for your house the better, so rally the troops in the Great Hall and in your common room

Now that all the Houses have won the House Cup at least once, which do you think will take home the Cup this time? Will Slytherin be victors for a third time? Can Ravenclaw triumph again for a second consecutive win? Or will Gryffindor or Hufflepuff bring the Cup back to their Houses? Despite whichever, we wish all houses the best of luck! Happy Dueling and Brewing! :)

For those of you who have not been sorted, create a Pottermore.com account and head to the Great Hall to find out which house is best fit for you!

Bloomsbury publishes new Harry Potter children’s editions

Screenshot 2014-09-01 at 10.51.59 AM

Today, as young Hogwarts students make their way back to the castle for the start of the new school year, Bloomsbury published new children’s editions of the Harry Potter series.

As Bloomsbury puts it, this new edition is a “reinvention” of the stories, with new covers illustrated by Jonny Duddle, a new Harry Potter logo, and other small additions, like new chapter headings and different fonts for Daily Prophet articles, Hogwarts letters, and handwritten notes between characters.

Also, for the first time, each book includes a map of the Hogwarts grounds, as well as an updated biography and “Fact File” of author J.K. Rowling. In addition to this, there is a spread in the back of the books that is devoted to Pottermore that has snippets of information from J.K. Rowling’s writing on the site. MuggleNet revealed most of the additions last month, and you can check those out here.

Below: The new Harry Potter covers, illustrated by Jonny Duddle for Bloomsbury.

This new edition is being released to aim at a new generation of readers. However, all Harry Potter fans can enjoy Bloomsbury’s new Harry Potter site, with a Harry Potter quote generator, glossary, downloadable images of the new covers, and much more. Bloomsbury plans to add more content and games to the site over time, so be sure to visit again.

As announced last year, Bloomsbury will be releasing fully illustrated versions of the books, with art by Jim Kay, starting in October 2015 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. For now, you can purchase today’s new editions here, straight from Bloomsbury.

J.K. Rowling writes Pottermore entry on Celestina Warbeck

J.K. Rowling has written a new entry for Pottermore on one of her “favorite ‘off-stage’ characters in the whole series,” Celestina Warbeck.

The 500-word biography shares never-before-known facts about the “the Singing Sorceress,” including details on “Celestina’s early years, career highlights and tumultuous personal life.” Though we never actually “meet” Celestina in the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling says that the singer has been part of Harry’s world “since its inception.” Celestina’s namesake, Rowling reveals, was one of her own colleague’s at Amnesty International. “‘Celestina’ was simply begging to be scooped up and attached to a glamorous witch,” the author writes.

With the entry comes an audio recording of one of Celestina’s hit songs, “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart,” which is performed daily in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort. If you’re interested in seeing Celestina perform live at Universal Orlando, click here.

Click here to read the new Celestina Warbeck biography and listen to her hit single, only at Pottermore.com. New users will have to register for the site first to read the new entry, which can be unlocked by clicking the wireless radio to the left of the fireplace.

Review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Pottermore

gofthumbLast year, after the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Pottermore.com, we published a review of the book. This year, we’re continuing that tradition with a review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

OVERVIEW

Pottermore released the book in three installments. The first installment was released on the first of October 2013, and the second installment came a few months later, in January of this year. Finally, six months later, the concluding chapters were released, on July 31. The six-month wait between the second and third installment was long, but in the mean time, Pottermore added new J.K. Rowling entries on Gilderoy Lockhart and Scottish Rugby, and the 2014 Quidditch World Cup occurred. So, it was a busy six months.

Read More…

Last installment of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ released

Image via Pottermore.com

Image via Pottermore.com

Today Pottermore released the concluding installment of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The much-awaited new chapters come six months after the previous release. Members of Ravenclaw House received 24 hours early access to the new chapters yesterday, and the chapters are available to all houses from today.

In this new installment, users encounter Hagrid’s Blast Ended Skrewts, attend the Yule Ball, explore Hogwart’s Great Lake and much, much more. Even Voldemort makes his comeback this time around.

As always, J.K. Rowling joined in as well, contributing four new exclusive content entries, including ones on the Great Lake of Hogwarts and Illness and Disability in the wizarding world.

Visit Pottermore.com to explore the final chapters.

While exploring the new chapters, look out for:

  • The Blast Ended Skrewts. You’re going to need damage control after exploring that Moment.
  • The Yule Ball! (for reasons that are obvious)
  • The faucets/taps in the Prefect’s bathroom. They are fun to play around with, even though you can’t enjoy them yourself. *sad Dobby eyes*
  • The sound in the Merepeople Moment (chapter 26). Freakishly eery.
  • J.K. Rowling’s entry on the Great Lake — she reveals early drafts of the books where the Great Lake planned to make an appearance.
  • J.K. Rowling’s thoughts on Owls. Very cool!
  • The history of the Pensieve — J.K. Rowling shares interesting backstory on the device in chapter 30.
  • The Maze in chapter 31. Make sure you clicked through everything; it’s pretty cool.
  • The Golden Thread Moment, chapter 34. Voldemort’s first full-fledged appearance on Pottermore is a memorable one.
  • “Illness and Disability,” an entry from J.K. Rowling that’s worth a read.
  • The audio in “The Leaving Feast.” Stephen Fry’s oration of one of Dumbledore’s most powerful speeches is chilling.
  • Neville’s grandmother in the King’s Cross Moment. Good one, Pottermore team.

Happy exploring to everyone! :)

Also, as it is July 31, we want to wish a Happy Birthday to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter!

Bloomsbury Releases the Final Four New ‘Harry Potter’ Book Covers

Over the past few months, Bloomsbury Press has teased Harry Potter fans with the release of the new cover art for the first three novels one at a time. Today, however, Bloomsbury decided to end the wait and unveiled the new cover for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows.

About a year ago, Bloomsbury Children’s Books began the task of reinventing the hardback and paperback editions of the Harry Potter series to a fresh, new reading experience for the next generation of young readers. To undertake this once in a lifetime opportunity, Bloomsbury brought award-winning artist Jonny Duddle on board to lead the new cover art design efforts. As well as sparkling new covers, all of the novels will also feature an updated biography of J.K. Rowling.

Click to see the covers of the books that have been revealed: Philosopher’s Stone Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban

The Goblet of Fire cover again features the elusive golden egg that was crucial in order to move on to the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, but it now depicts Harry’s efforts on his broomstick to obtain the egg from the terrifying Hungarian Horntail dragon.

9781408855683

Order of the Phoenix sees Harry flying high again on its cover, but this time he is on the back of a thestral—a creature that can only be seen by those who have seen death—on his way to the Ministry of Magic in London.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry and Dumbledore are seen together as they were on the original Half-Blood Prince cover, but this time they are in a much more precarious position than viewing memories in a pensieve. We see bright flames surrounding them as they are being attacked by inferi—corpses re-animated by magic—while looking for Voldemort’s locket horcrux in the cave.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Finally, while the original Deathly Hallows cover shows a very pivotal moment towards the end of the story, the new version depicts another critical moment from ‘The Forest Again’ as Harry approaches Voldemort and seemingly awaits his impending death.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

All seven of the covers show a great vibrancy and life through color and design, and bring the books to life in an entirely new way.

Come September 1, 2014, the wait will be over to have these seven novels and eBook editions for your very own! Stay tuned to Pottermore News for more updates.

Tell us below: What do you think of the new cover art? Which is your favorite—the original or the new cover art?

Images courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing.

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