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Pottermore’s 12 Days of Christmas Surprises

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This post will be updated every day of Pottermore’s Christmas celebration.

Last week, Pottermore announced their Christmas celebration, spanning from this Friday, December 12 until December 23. Over the course of the celebration, Pottermore plans to release a surprise to fans everyday, with gifts including new Moments from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, new writing from J.K. Rowling, additions to Potions, and more. The gifts are released on pottermore.com everyday at 1pm GMT (8am EST); all fans have to do is solve a simple riddle to unlock the gift. Otherwise, you can follow Pottermore’s releases on this post..

December 18:

Riddle Answer: Apparition.

Surprise: Harry and his classmates learn the basic skills of Apparation from Wilkie Twycross, the Ministry Apparition Instructor, in the Great Hall. There is no new content to unlock, but a few collectible items to find, including Galleons.

December 17:

Riddle Answer: Luna Lovegood.

Surprise: In the sixth Moment from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and friends attend Professor Slughorn’s holiday party. J.K. Rowling shares information about Vampires in Harry Potter, revealing early plans for a vampire Hogwarts professor named Trocar, and dispelling rumors that Professor Snape was a vampire. “In short,” the author concludes, “Snape is not a re-vamped Trocar.”

December 16:

Riddle Answer: Professor Dumbledore.

Surprise: Dumbledore and Harry use the Penseive to visit Dumbeldore’s memories with a young Tom Riddle. Again, there is no entry from J.K. Rowling to read, but there Pottermore did release another two-part Potion, the Shrinking Solution. Brewing both the Shrinking Solution and Doxycide will earn users the Practical Potion-Maker badge.

December 15:

Riddle Answer: Chaser.

Surprise: Katie Bell is cursed in the snowy fourth Moment of Half-Blood Prince, from chapter twelve. There is no J.K. Rowling content to read, but many collectible item for one’s trunk. Pottermore also added the Book of Potions to Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley, which members can purchase using Galleons. By purchasing the book, users can brew a new, two-part Potion, Doxycide.

December 14:

Riddle Answer: Professor Slughorn.

Surprise: The third Moment of Half-Blood Prince, in which Harry’s Potions class is brewing Felix Felicis (chapter 9). Along with many collectible potion ingredients, there are two entries from J.K. Rowling to be discovered in the Potions classroom, subjected on Cauldrons and Potions.

From J.K. Rowling’s Thoughts on “Potions”: Chemistry was my least favourite subject at school, and I gave it up as soon as I could.  Naturally, when I was trying to decide which subject Harry’s arch-enemy, Severus Snape, should teach, it had to be the wizarding equivalent.  

Screenshot 2014-12-13 at 06.19.13 PMDecember 13:

Riddle Answer: Diagon Alley.

Surprise: The second Moment of Half-Blood Prince, from chapter six, depicting Fred and George’s joke shop in Diagon Alley. J.K. Rowling gives insight into the history of the Leaky Cauldron pub, as well as the ghost-plot of Florean Fortescue, the ice-cream parlor owner.

December 12:

Riddle Answer: Professor Snape.

Surprise: First moment of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, depicting the second chapter of the book. In the Moment, discover new information from J.K. Rowling about the town of Cokeworth, where Severus Snape and Lily and Petunia Evans grew up. Pottermore also rewarded all users with 300 Galleons to their Gringotts account.

 

 

 

 

Robert Galbraith novels to be adapted for BBC television

J.K. Rowling, 2014The BBC has announced plans to adapt J.K. Rowling’s crime novels centering around London detective Cormoran Strike, published under the name Robert Galbraith, for television.

Update: J.K. Rowling confirmed the news on Twitter.

The two Galbraith novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) and The Silkworm (2014) will serve as the basis of a BBC One series that will be produced by Bronte Film and TV, J.K. Rowling’s production company that previously worked on the BBC adaption of Rowling’s novel, The Casual Vacancy. Bronte Film and TV chairman and J.K. Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing these best-selling novels to the screen and to be working once again alongside the BBC.”

J.K. Rowling published the first novel under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith in April 2013, with the identity of the book’s author being kept secret until Rowling was outed in July of that year. At the time her name was revealed, Rowling said she had already received two offers from television production companies to adapt The Cuckoo’s Calling.

So far, not much is known about the project; the number and length of episodes are still being decided and no cast or screenwriter was announced. However, the BBC said that Rowling will “collaborate on the project.” Danny Cohen, Director of BBC Television, added, “It’s a wonderful coup for BBC Television to be bringing JK Rowling’s latest books to the screen. With the rich character of Cormoran Strike at their heart, these dramas will be event television across the world.”

Though no air date was indicated for the new series, The Casual Vacancy adaption is set to air in February. Recently, the BBC released promotional pictures for the series, which can be viewed here.

Find out more about the J.K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series here.

Source: Irish Times

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Pottermore announces Christmas campaign for Half-Blood Prince

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This year, Christmas comes early to Pottermore with brand new writing from J.K. Rowling, new Moments from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and more.

Today, Pottermore announced their Christmas campaign to coincide with the website’s release of daily surprises starting next Friday, December 12. From that date until December 23, Pottermore will be releasing a treat everyday at 1pm GMT (8am EST), with treats ranging from new potions to original content from J.K. Rowling on Draco Malfoy and the ghost plot of Florean Fortescue, to be found in new Moments from Half-Blood Prince.

To keep up with the #PottermoreChristmas celebration, be sure to subscribe to Pottermore’s Facebook event and keep up with their Twitter and the Insider. The fun begins next Friday on pottermore.com…

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address to be published in 2015

vgljkrJ.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard University commencement address will be published in an illustrated hardback by Little, Brown on April 14, 2015.

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination will include the author’s speech alongside illustrations by artist Joel Holland. Holland previously worked on the cover for J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

In the speech, J.K. Rowling discusses the struggles she faced in her post-graduate years and how she overcame hardship. The commencement speech is available to watch on YouTube here.

From the press release:

Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said, “I have heard and read many commencement speeches, none more moving and memorable than J.K. Rowling’s. Years after her visit to Harvard, people still talk about it—and still find inspiration in her singular evocation of the idea that living a meaningful life so often means daring to risk failure.  What a powerful example she embodies, and what a remarkable gift her speech was, and is, for all of us privileged to hear it then—and to read it now.”

90% percent of the book’s proceeds will go to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, which helps disadvantaged children. The remaining 10% will be donated to university-wide financial aid at Harvard University. Little, Brown Book Group (UK) and Little, Brown & Company (US) are also making a donation to Lumos, which is currently undergoing a

Very Good Lives will be published worldwide in English next April, as a £9.99 (~$15-16) hardback and in e-book. It is not currently available for pre-order.

J.K. Rowling’s Lumos charity launches campaign, #LetsTalkLumos

On Wednesday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling urged some of the world’s largest international aid donors, including the EU and the US Government, to use funding for the deinstitutionalization of orphans.

In London, J.K. Rowling addressed more than 50 government representatives from the world at a conference entitled In Our Lifetime: a Global Conference to End the Institutionalisation of Children,  hosted by the author’s charity, Lumos. Rowling spoke against orphanages and institutions, arguing that “children have a legal and moral right to a family life and that institutions, despite the best intentions, cannot give the love and care they need to grow and reach their potential,” according to the author’s website.

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At the conference, J.K. Rowling met Dumitriţa, aged 14, who has benefitted from Lumos’s work with deinstitutionalization, and also 17-year-old Cristina, the leader of children’s council at Dumitriţa’s school.

 

“I recently committed to becoming President of Lumos for Life,” Rowling said in her speech, “and it is my dream that by the time my life ends, the very concept of taking a child away from its family and locking it away will seem to belong to a cruel, fictional world.”

lumosbutterflyWednesday’s conference is aligned with the launch of Lumos’s new online social media campaign, #LetsTalkLumos, “aimed at raising awareness of the plight of up to eight million children globally who are living in orphanages and institutions, despite over 80% having living parents.” According to the charity’s website, “the campaign will also raise funds for a special education unit in a mainstream school in Moldova, to demonstrate that children with complex disabilities can be educated alongside their peers without disabilities.”

To donate to Lumos’s fund, click here. If you are not in the position to donate, please still spread the word about the campaign. Visit the charity’s website to find out more about their new efforts to combat the institutionalization of children.

Pictures via SnitchSeeker.

Pottermore releases new J.K. Rowling writing in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Copyright of Pottermore

Copyright of Pottermore

In honor of Halloween, on Friday Pottemore released the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

While exploring the book, Pottermore fans will encounter 5,500 words of new writing from J.K. Rowling, including entries on the Ministry of Magic, the wizard prison Azkaban, the backstories on characters Sybill Trelawney and Dolores Umbridge, and more. The writing is found in the Moments for Order of the Phoenix, depicting key scenes from the book like Grimmuald Place, the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, Harry’s visit to the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore’s Army learning how to cast a Patronus, and Harry and his schoolmates battle in the Ministry of Magic.

Explore Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and read new writing from J.K. Rowling, on Pottermore.com.

Unlike the previous three books, Order of the Phoenix was released in its entirety at once, rather than being released in batches of chapters every few months. Although, if you visit the site, you will notice that the book is a lot shorter, the story told in twelve key Moments from the original work. Pottermore is clearly focusing attention on J.K. Rowling’s exclusive content, which is the reason why most fans visit the site, but a huge portion of the novel is left out. Pottermore isn’t a picture book, but we are disappointed that a lot of our favorite scenes from the book were excluded — the Black Family Tapestry, Snape’s Worst Memory, and Dumbledore taking on Voldemort at the end, among others. Even if Pottermore were to add Moments in the future, the adaption would be more of a complement to the original text.

Nevertheless, the artwork remains stunningly beautiful and the exclusive content highly interesting. As promised, there are also four new spells Pottermore users can cast in Wizard Duel, including Expelliarmus, Rictusempra, Immobulus and Wingardium Leviosa.

Enjoy exploring Order of the Phoenix and Happy Halloween! :) Be sure to check out the Great Hall, which is fully revamped for the annual Halloween feast.

What do you think of Order of the Phoenix? Did you enjoy the new writing from J.K. Rowling? Tell us in the comments below!

Dolores Umbridge backstory to be released on Pottermore on Halloween

 

umbridge1This Halloween, J.K. Rowling will publish a 1,500-word backstory about character Dolores Umbridge on Pottermore.

According to a press release sent out today, the entry will reveal J.K. Rowling’s “first-person thoughts and reflections” about Umbridge, who is first introduced to readers in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. In the press release, she is described as “the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry.”

Pottermore teased the new information last week as part of their Trick or Treat celebration leading up to Halloween. Everyday leading up to Halloween, Pottermore sends out a riddles and picture that is part of a revelation coming October 31, presumably the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Judging by the Trick or Treat statements so far, we suspect J.K. Rowling will share new information on Wizarding Legislation (or at least something about the Ministry of Magic) and Divination professor, Sybil Trelawney, along with Umbridge. Threstals, centaurs, 12 Grimuald Place, and the Telephone Box port to the Ministry of Magic will no doubt appear in the book as well. And, who could forget the Patronus test J.K. Rowling teased last month? As the pictures say, all will be revealed October 31…

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Are you excited for the new backstory on Umbridge? What are you most looking forward to in Order of the Phoenix? Tell us in the comments below!

Be sure to look out for Pottermore’s Trick or Treat riddle, released everyday at 4:00 p.m. BST/ 11:00 a.m. EST up until October 31.

Dark Arts Attraction Opens at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

On Tuesday of last week, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London celebrated Halloween a couple weeks early by opening its newest Dark Arts addition to The Making of Harry Potter. Included in the new attraction is The Malfoy Manor, Borgin & Burkes, and Dolores Umbridge’s office.

The Malfoy Manor dining room

The dining hall of Malfoy Manor, which was built to replicate the beginning meeting scene of Deathly Hallows: Part 1, has horrifyingly lifelike elements. A grand fireplace serves as the backdrop for mannequins of each Death Eater in full costume, who are seated in their exact meeting locations. Terrifying as they may be, the truly hair-raising site is the lifeless body of Hogwarts Muggle Studies professor Charity Burbage dangling in midair as a huge and hungry Nagini slithers across the table to have her for dinner. Nagini, originally made from latex, has gotten a revamp in design, now handmade from urethane skin and foam (material found in couch cushions), which is much heartier and easier to form, not to mention gives the snake a much scarier appearance.

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Nagini

Next on the tour is the same place at which Harry accidentally arrived while trying to reach Diagon Alley in Chamber of Secrets–Borgin & Burkes, the dark magic shop located in Knockturn Alley. Cases of skulls and other skeletal creatures stare out from behind their cases, and the Hand of Glory rests patiently on a shelf, waiting for some unlucky person to reach out and grasp it. A replica of the Iron Maiden that Harry hid in during a deleted scene from Chamber of Secrets is also present among these ghoulish trinkets. Safe to say, this is a not a place where many people would like to browse and window shop.

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Borgin & Burkes

Finally on the journey is a slightly different kind of wretched place–Dolores Umbridge’s ghastly, pink office from her time teaching at (and terrorizing) Hogwarts. The office set was relocated to the Dark Arts section to be in a more, ahem, fitting place. Portraits and china plates of dolled-up kittens decorate the pink walls, and, if anyone dares venture closer to the desk, they may find a blood quill or two resting menacingly on the surface.

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Dolores Umbridge’s office

Also creatively displayed in the Dark Arts exhibit are artifacts from throughout the books and movies such as the horcruxes used to store pieces of Voldemort’s soul, and the basilisk fang used to destroy one such horcrux–Tom Riddle’s diary.

It’s tough to say which element of the Dark Arts section seems the most creepy, so you’ll have to go see for yourself. Tickets to The Making of Harry Potter are available now, so get yours today and be one of the first to see this eerie addition. Then, report back to us of what you think!

Images courtesy of Pottermore.com

New spells and alterations to Wizard Duel on Pottermore

On Friday, Pottermore announced plans to unveil four new spells on October 31 as part of their “Trick or Treat” Halloween celebration.

Wands at the ready! Pottermore users will soon be able to duel with Rictusempra, Immobulus, Expelliarmus, and Wingdarium Leviosa in the first major addition to Wizard Duel since Pottermore’s beta launch in 2011.

From the Insider:

During her time at Hogwarts as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge notoriously prevented students from practising and performing spells during her lessons. Luckily, Pottermore students are actively encouraged to cast spells in Duelling Club, and we’re thrilled to announce that there’ll be four new spells to try out very soon.

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Earlier this week, Pottermore announced alterations to the Wizard Duel feature “to make duelling more enjoyable” and “to make it more difficult for unfair game play to take place.”

As most Pottermore users know, to perform a spell, you have to type out or click on certain letters that spell out the incantation. Before, the letters would stay the same every time, but now the letters are randomized with each new game.

The Insider wrote about another alteration as well:

The second alteration is to vary the speed at which the power of the spell, shown by the pulsing circle around each letter, grows – so now the speed of your reactions matters more than ever!

Pottermore reasoned the alterations as to keep all activity on Pottermore fair for users to enjoy. The team also encouraged any users to contact them if they encounter any suspicious behavior on the site.

Are you excited to try out the new spells? How do you feel about the alterations to Wizard Duel? Tell us in the comments below!

Fantastic Beasts to be directed by David Yates

fantasticbeastscoverDavid Yates, who previously directed the last four Harry Potter movies, is set to return to the world of Harry Potter to direct Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Yates’ involvement was previously rumored but it was confirmed today by Warner Bros. C.E.O. Kevin Tsujihara at an investment meeting. Yates will be working closely again with the whole Harry Potter filmmaking team, including producer David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and J.K. Rowling, who will be making her screenwriting debut with the film. As previously announced, the films will be a trilogy released in 2016, 2018, and 2020. The films’ storyline has been adapted from J.K. Rowling’s companion book to the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

From the press release:

The Studio will release three pictures, in 2016, 2018 and 2020, based on best-selling author J.K. Rowling’s original story and screenwriting debut, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”   Set in an extension of her familiar wizarding world, featuring magical creatures and characters inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook and its fictitious author, Newt Scamander, “Fantastic Beasts” will be directed by David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, and reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.

In other news regarding Fantastic Beasts, last week J.K. Rowling teased her Twitter followers with an anagram that turned out to be the opening line of a synopsis for the first Fantastic Beasts film.

The tweets made garnered attention around the world and gave us our first clue into what will happen during the movie. Check out the author’s Twitter for the whole story.

Are you surprised David Yates is directing the films? Would you have preferred a new perspective to Harry’s world? Tell us in the comments below!

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