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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.

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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.

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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.

Cast announced for teenage characters of ‘Casual Vacancy’ miniseries

The teenage characters of the The Casual Vacancy miniseries have been cast, the ScreenTerrier reports.

Newcomers including Abigail Lawrie, Simona Brown,Ria Choony, Brian Vernel and Joe Hurst will be joining veteran actors like Michael Gambon and Keeley Hawes in the upcoming miniseries based off of J.K. Rowling’s 2012 novel, currently being filmed in Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.

Related: Partial cast list announced for ‘Casual Vacancy’ miniseries 

18 year old actress Abigail Lawrie will portray the book’s main character, Krystal Weedon. Simona Brown, whose been in a number of British television shows, will play Gaia Bawden, and 16 year old Ria Choony will play  Gaia’s best friend, Sukhvinder Jawanda. Stage performer Brain Vernel and 15 year old Welsh actor Joe Hurst are set to play Stuart “Fats” Wall and Andrew ‘Arf’ Price, respectively. Pictures of the actors are below.

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The Casual Vacancy is set to air later this year on BBC and HBO. It will be directed by Jonny Campbell

Find out more about the miniseries by visiting our page for The Casual Vacancy here.

Last installment of ‘Goblet of Fire’ to be released July 31

The Pottermore Insider announced today that the last installment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be released this Thursday, July 31, from 12.00pm BST.

While the new installment will be available to everyone from July 31, members of Ravenclaw will receive 24 hours of early access to the new chapters, beginning Wednesday at 12.00pm BST, their prize for winning the fifth Pottermore House Cup.

Today’s announcement was hinted at last week after Pottermore turned its social media pictures upside down, alluding to the third task of the Triwizard tournament in Goblet of Fire.

July 31 also marks the birthday of Harry Potter himself, along with his creator, J. K. Rowling. Pottermore also released the last chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban on this date, last year.

J.K. Rowling attends Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

She be on her suit and tie: J.K. Rowling, pictured above with Val McDermid, appeared at Theaksten Crime Writing Festival as Robert Galbraith.

She be on her suit and tie: J.K. Rowling, pictured above with Val McDermid, appeared at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival as Robert Galbraith.

On Friday, J.K. Rowling made her only promotional appearance for her new Robert Galbraith novel, The Silkworm, at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

In conversation with fellow crime writer Val McDermid, J.K. Rowling discussed the Cormoran Strike series while wearing a very appropriate outfit of a grey suit and orange tie. No photographs were allowed during the event, but Rowling signed copies of the book and posed for pictures with fans after appearing on stage.

At the event, Rowling revealed that she has more than seven Cormoran Strike novels planned, referring to the books as an “open-ended” series. Unsurprisingly, she said she knows a lot about the book’s main characters, Cormoran and Robin, and where they’re headed. The author is currently a third of the way through writing the third book, which will center around the experience of returning soldiers and will be “quite different” than the first two novels. The fourth book is already well planned.

For the first time, she spoke about writing the series, saying, “I love writing these books. One of the things I love about this genre is that – unlike Harry where there is an overarching story, here you are talking about discrete stories. So as long as your detective lives you can give him cases.” According to the Bookseller, “The author said it was a “no brainer” for her to write crime novels, describing the Harry Potter novels as ‘six whodunits and one whydunit.'”

Talking about one of the series’ characters, Rowling admitted she “loved” writing the character of Robin. “I think Robin is the most entirely loveable character I’ve ever written. A good person but likeable – a smart woman, a kind and loyal person.”

Along with the aforementioned, Rowling spoke about writing under a pseudonym, Cormoran’s disability, and the crime/thriller genre in quotes that you can read over at the Bookseller.

Are you ready for more Cormoran Strike? What about Jo in suits? (Check out another picture here) Tell us in the comments below whether or not you’re excited for more Robert Galbraith.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan Celebrates Grand Opening

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan opened on Tuesday, July 15.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan opened on Tuesday, July 15.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan celebrated their grand opening this week with J.K. Rowling, Tom Felton, and Evanna Lynch all in attendance. Tom and Evanna played Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood, respectively, in the Harry Potter films.

As planned, on Tuesday, July 15 the park was opened by Tom and Evanna with Glen Gumpel, the President and CEO of Universal Studios Japan. According to the press release, “Mr. Felton and Ms. Lynch led the guests with the Revelio spell as the archway was filled with smoke, which slowly lifted to reveal Hogsmeade village prompting cheers from waiting park guests. Then so many guests stepped into Hogsmeade village with excitement and were welcomed by Hogsmeade villagers.”

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On Monday, J.K. Rowling enjoyed a private visit to the park with her family. She commented on the experience in a statement that was included in the press release:

“The craft and attention to detail across The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is incredible and I will take away the memory of Hogwarts castle reflected on the Black Lake in particular. I’m delighted that Harry fans in Japan and around Asia can experience a physical incarnation that is so close to what I imagined when writing the books,” said J.K. Rowling.

Check out these pictures of her visiting the park:

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In comparison, the WWoHP in Japan features most of what the Orlando location has to offer, with the exception of the Dueling Dragons ride. However, Japan includes aspects that aren’t at Orlando, including the Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest. The new park cost 45 billion yen ($442.2 million) to construct.

With the Japan park and Orlando expansion now open, there’s one more Wizarding World still being built. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is set to open in 2016.

Light Up J.K. Rowling’s Birthday by donating to annual fundraiser for Lumos

JKR says the Light Up Jo's Birthday donation was "one of the best birthday presents she's ever received."

JKR says the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser was “one of the best birthday presents she’s ever received.”

Be part of one of the best birthday presents J.K. Rowling has received by donating to the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser for Lumos.

Since 2012, the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser has been bringing together J.K. Rowling fans to make a difference in a cause that is very close to Jo’s heart. Every July, fans donate to the fundraiser, and this money is then donated to J.K. Rowling’s own charity, Lumos, “which aims to end the institutionalization of children around the world.” The fundraiser runs throughout the month of July, as Jo’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday is July 31.

So far, Light Up Jo’s Birthday has raised £4,500 for Lumos, and their current total at press time is £1,263.58. As always, this (growing) amount will be donated to Lumos as a birthday present to J.K. Rowling, and the author will be notified of the donation amount. This Thursday, Jo will be told in person how much has been raised so far at the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, where she will be appearing as Robert Galbraith.

Jo will turn 49 this year -- be apart of her birthday by donating the fundraiser

Jo will turn 49 this year — be apart of her birthday by donating the fundraiser

In the past, J.K. Rowling has called the gift “one of the best birthday presents I’d ever received,” so who wouldn’t want to apart of it?!

In addition, anyone who donates to Light Up Jo’s Birthday will have their name put in a drawing to win one of a wide-range of prizes, including photos signed by Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis, and even a one-of-a-kind sketch of Harry by artist Thomas Taylor, who illustrated the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In addition, anyone who donates £5 or more will be entered to win the grand prize — a rare, signed copy of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). As there are two signed copies of The Silkworm available, two donators will benefit if they are chosen! Find out more about the prizes here.

Don’t forget, by donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, you’re helping a worthy cause that means a great deal to J.K. Rowling. According to their website, “Lumos works in partnership with governments, professionals and carers, communities, families and children, to transform outdated systems that drive families apart.” To find out more about Lumos, visit their website here.

In donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, you really are helping Lumos achieve their goal to end the institutionalization of children. The fundraiser’s site reads, “One project carried out by Lumos which benefited from Light Up Jo’s Birthday funds was making a school accessible, so that disabled children can attend mainstream school and stay with their families instead of having to go into an institution.” This birthday campaign is the best way to give back something meaningful to our favorite author, so we ask our readers to donate to the fundraiser if they are able.

To donate to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, click here.

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