Watch the US trailer for ‘The Casual Vacancy’ miniseries – premieres April 29 on HBO

On Friday HBO confirmed the debut dates for The Casual Vacancy miniseries, based on J.K. Rowling’s novel.

As it premiered on BBC in the U.K. in February, the series will be split into three hour-long episodes. However, the three episodes will premiere over two consecutive nights. Parts one and two are scheduled to air Wednesday, April 29 beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST; part three will debut the next night, Thursday,  April 30 at 8:00 p.m.

Along with the announcement, HBO released the first trailer for the U.S. version, included below. THe trailer shows scenes previously not advertised by the U.K. previews.

Warning: Some profanity

In addition to news surrounding the U.S. airing, Amazon U.K. currently lists the DVD edition of the miniseries on their website, priced at £10.50. The DVD is officially released on June 15.

U.S. fans: Will you be tuning in to watch Pagford’s drama turn out? U.K. readers: Is the show worth it to purchase the DVD? Tell us in the comments below.

J.K. Rowling and agent talk Harry Potter play, set to open in 2016

jkrtwitterJ.K. Rowling recorded an interview with Kathmandu radio station on Friday on her trip to the Napal capital, in which she spoke about future Harry Potter plans.

To listen to the interview, click here. Rowling discussed, specifically, the stage play about Harry Potter’s pre-Hogwarts days.

Harry Potter fan site SnitchSeeker provided the transcripts of the excerpts from the interview, below, in which she discusses the upcoming Potter attractions, including the stage play announced in 2013.

BFBS Radio: We will be seeing more of Harry Potter?
JK Rowling:
Not of Harry Potter exactly. I mean, I have no plans to write more Harry Potter books, though it’s constantly being rumored that I have. I’m afraid those rumors are, at the moment, false. But there are other things happening. For example, I’m currently working on a film script for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – which is very much part of Harry’s world, which is a lot of fun. I’m really enjoying doing that. And there will be a Harry Potter play. So yes, there’s certainly more for fans to look forward to.

BFBS Radio: Have you thought about the name at this stage or not?
JK Rowling:
No, I haven’t. No.

BFBS Radio: So it could be anything?
JK Rowling:
Not quite anything. There are a couple of names are being mooted but I’m not allowed to say what they are.

Relatedly, SnitchSeeker revealed that J.K. Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, spoke exclusively to the site at the launch for the Hogwarts Express expansion at the Studio Tour, saying that the play will open sometime to the public in summer 2016.

Read the initial announcement for the Harry Potter play here

Pictures: J.K. Rowling visits British School in Nepal

J.K. Rowling made an unannounced trip to Nepal on Friday on invitation from the British embassy, according to Cinema Times.

Nepal borders India to the Northeast; Rowling made the trip on a private jet with her family. In the country, Rowling read excerpts from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at The British School in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. A news site reported that Rowling interacted with the students and took their questions.

In a radio interview, Rowling said she came to Nepal to visit her friend, British Defense Attache Colonel Sean Harris. Regarded by Rowling as her best and oldest friend, Sean was the inspiration for Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter books. (Source)

Jo spoke about the visit, saying, “It’s my first time in Nepal… I have to say I have absolutely loved being here. It’s a beautiful place. I’d love to come back again. I’d love to come back to Kathmandu… it’s been the most marvelous experience.”

In addition to Friday’s event, the author will reportedly attend a program at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Kathmandu on Saturday. According to the interview, Rowling’s visit will last a quick 4 days.

Here are some unofficial pictures from the Nepal visit, via Twitter.

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J.K. Rowling receives award from the British Red Cross for humanitarian work

On March 10, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling received the British Red Cross’s Humanity Award in Edinburgh.

humanaward

The Red Cross awarded Rowling for her work through her charity for disadvantaged children, Lumos, and the organization Gingerbread for one-parent families, in addition for her advocacy for various humanitarian causes.

According to the Red Cross website, the award “honors prominent philanthropists and humanitarians whose work has changed people’s lives across the world.” Previous recipients of the British Red Cross Humanity Award have included Nelson Mandela, Sir Bob Geldof and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Receiving the award from British Red Cross CEO Mike Adamson, J.K. Rowling said: “I have long admired the impact of the Red Cross’s work in the aftermath of conflict or a disaster and it is a privilege to help support it. I am truly honoured to accept this Red Cross Humanity Award and to find myself in such distinguished company.” (Source).

CEO Mike Adamson stated: “Few people can have touched as many lives through their generosity and courage to speak out as J.K. Rowling – she is an inspiration to others.”

As the announcement from the Red Cross notes, in 2000 the author established the Volant Charitable Trust, “which supports a wide number of causes related to inequality and social deprivation. The trust has supported the Red Cross and its disaster appeals over a number of years,” the post reads.

For more information, see the Red Cross website.

Hogwarts Express expansion opens at Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The Hogwarts Express at the Harry Potter Studio Tour -- Warner Bros. via Digital Spy

The Hogwarts Express at the Harry Potter Studio Tour — Warner Bros. via Digital Spy

All aboard! The Hogwarts Express made its way back to London this week for the opening of the new expansion at the Making of Harry Potter exhibit at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – London.

First announced in January, the expansion opened to the public this Thursday. With the new expansion, visitors can step onto Platform 9 ¾, located within a replication of Kings Cross Station. Aboard the Hogwarts Express, one can walk down its narrow aisle and peer into its compartments for behind-the-scenes insights on how the scenes on and around the train were made, from the trio’s first meeting to the epilogue of Deathly Hallows - Part 2.

Making every Harry Potter fan’s dreams come true, the train features a few open compartments that allow visitors to imagine themselves embarking on the journey to Hogwarts. Similarly, visitors to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando can ride the Hogwarts Express from Kings Cross to Hogsmeade. However, while a replica is used in Orlando, the train at the Studio Tour, officially known as Oton Hall, is the actual train used in the films.

Besides the train, the platform also features a variety of props from the films related to the Hogwarts Express and the scenes at Kings Cross, including luggages and trolleys, as well as costumes worn by the actors.

Mike Marsland/Wire Images via DailyStar

Mike Marsland/Wire Images via DailyStar

To mark the launch of the expansion, several Harry Potter film stars, including the Phelps twins, who played Fred and George Weasley, Mark Williams, who played Mr. Weasley, and Warwick Davis, who played Professor Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter films, made an appearance at the Studio Tour.

Father and Sons Reunited: The Phelps twins with their on-screen father, Mark Williams (via WB Studio Tour Twitter)

Father and Sons Reunited: The Phelps twins with their on-screen father, Mark Williams (via WB Studio Tour Twitter)

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsjuihara made a speech at the launch event, saying, “Jo [J.K. Rowling] couldn’t be here tonight, but she’s here in spirit… This place [the Studio Tour] embodies the world of Harry Potter and brings it to life.”

The Hogwarts Express at the Making of Harry Potter exhibit is now open — to purchase tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, visit their website here. Tickets must be purchased in advance; a standard ticket includes the new expansion.

To learn more about the Studio Tour, visit our page dedicated to the exhibit here.

J.K. Rowling posts a selfie on Twitter, talks third Cormoran Strike book, more

In case you missed it, J.K. Rowling posted a selfie on Twitter last Saturday to her more than 4 million followers.

For an Internet minute, everyone sort of fell in love with it. (Including us — we’re still gushing…)

The 49-year old author took the photo of herself and her agent, Neil Blair, at a rugby match between Scotland and England. It was the first selfie the author posted online, besides the photo set that was featured in Emma Watson’s Wonderland Magazine interview with Rowling last February. The picture garnered many messages from fans in response along the lines of, “You are so beautiful!” Honestly, we can’t blame them for saying it.

In relation to the game, Rowling unexpectedly linked to the PottermoreWiki page for Scottish rugby as she reminded her followers of the wizarding world’s association with Scottish rugby. Last year, as Scotland headed for the Six Nations tournament, the author published an entry to Pottermore, revealing the connection between the wizarding world and rugby.

Finally, besides tweeting about the rugby game, Rowling confirmed that the third Cormoran Strike novel is near completion.

As we always encourage, keep an eye out on Jo’s Twitter page. You never know what she’ll tweet, or if she’ll answer your question! (Or send you a free book!!!)

Are you following Pottermore News on twitter? Find out all the latest news as-it-happens by following our feed.

‘Casual Vacancy’ TV finale airs in U.K. to mixed reviews

Still from Episode 3 of 'The Casual Vacancy'

Still from Episode 3 of ‘The Casual Vacancy’

The finale for the three-part adaption of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy aired Sunday night on BBC One in the U.K.

According to the Guardian, the final episode drew in 4.6 million viewers, down from 4.8m with the previous episode and the series peak of 6.6m viewers for the premiere.

In terms of response, the episode (and series as a whole) received mixed reviews from critics, most of whom praised the actors but criticized the series’ story and plot development. A lot of fans of the book were disappointed with the show’s ending, which departed from the novel’s ending. However, fans were warned of this difference, as screenwriter Sarah Phelps expressed her aversion of the book’s “grim” ending before the show even premiered.

Spoiler Alert – Excerpts from the Independent‘s review of the episode:

While the cast were superb and the cinematography luscious, the show floundered without ever really working out what it was and you couldn’t help but feel that Rowling’s novel had been rather shoehorned into the three hours.

Sadly it was just all too predictable. Krystal’s junkie mother cleaned up her act before going back to the drugs, Howard had an affair then a heart attack, and almost every character was lumbered with a minor personal revelation in the last 15 minutes.

Finally, after the show, The Casual Vacancy author J.K. Rowling tweeted this message to the series screenwriter and director:

The Casual Vacancy will premiere in the U.S. on HBO on April 29.

‘J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography’ offers new insight into the Harry Potter books

The cover of J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) by Phillip W. Errington.

The cover of J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) by Phillip W. Errington.

Last week, Bloomsbury Publishing’s Academic imprint published Phillip W. Errington’s J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013), offering fascinating insight into the publishing of Harry Potter.

Chronicling the literary history of J.K. Rowling’s works, the book features every edition of Rowling’s books, from the first edition of Philosopher’s Stone to The Cuckoo’s Calling. Along with descriptions of the individual editions, the bibliography includes edits and corrections made by Rowling and her editors, as well as extensive quotes from Nigel Newton, founder and chief executive officer of Bloomsbury Publishing.

The author of the bibliography, Phillip Errington, spent five years gathering the information that fills the 544-page volume. He spent time in Bloomsbury archives, speaking with anyone involved in the series from the early days until today.

Bloomsbury’s website advertises the book with the following synopsis:

This is the definitive bibliography of the writings of J. K. Rowling. In addition to complete bibliographic details of each edition of all her books, pamphlets and original contributions to published works, there is detailed information on the publishing history of her work, including fascinating extracts from correspondence, and information on Rowling at auction. This will be the first source on Rowling consulted by textual scholars, book dealers and collectors, auction houses, critics and researchers. The aim of the book is to record fact and dispel rumour on the fascinating publishing history of the Harry Potter series.

J.K. Rowling herself praised the book, saying, “As someone who respects comprehensive research, I am in awe of the level of detail and amount of time Philip Errington has dedicated to this slavishly thorough and somewhat mind-boggling bibliography.

The Guardian offered highlights of the book in their review, including J.K. Rowling’s revelation of alternative titles for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Harry Potter and the Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Fire Goblet and Harry Potter and the Three Champions. In addition, Errington shares many notable stories in the book, like the handing over of the manuscript for Order of the Phoenix. 

[Christopher] Little [J.K. Rowling’s agent, 1997-2011] summoned [Nigel] Newton [C.E.O. of Bloomsbury] to The Pelican pub in Fulham for a drink, he told Errington – Newton knew the meeting could be significant, as the location was where Little had delivered the previous book to Bloomsbury. “So I drove to The Pelican, a pub off the Fulham Road not far from Stamford Bridge, in a state of high alert. And I went in and there was a massive Sainsbury’s plastic carrier bag at this feet … he said nothing about that and I said nothing and he just said ‘Drink?’ and I said, ‘a pint, please’. So we stood at the bar and drank our pints and said nothing about Harry Potter. But when we left I walked out with the carrier bag. It was a classic dead letter drop,” said Newton.

For likewise stories, purchase J.K. Rowling: A Bibliography (1997-2013) from Bloomsbury Publishing today, £67.50. The book will be available from April 23 in the United States, $128. If you are interested, pre-order the book here.

Don’t forget! Next month, Little, Brown will publish Very Good Lives, the text of J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard Commencement Address in book form.

Pottermore adds new Beautification Potion and Bertie Botts Badge

This week, Pottermore added a new potion and achievement badge to the site for users to enjoy.

On Thursday, Pottermore published its Guide to Potions Class to the Insider, which gives helpful hints to aspiring Potion Masters. Along with this guide, once again Pottermore shortened the length of time it takes to brew a potion, and they changed the number of house points a potion is worth.

Most significantly, they added Zygmunt Budge’s Beautification Potion, straight out of the Book of Potions. It is a two-part potion that takes at least an hour and a half to brew, depending on your cauldron. Ingredients for the potion cost a total of 24 galleons and include the “Perfect Rose” and “Morning Dew”. It is worth 40 house points, so its well worth the time and effort!

In honor of Ron Weasley’s birthday, Pottermore made a new “Bertie Bott’s Collectors Badge” available to users to earn.

beansFrom the Insider:

From the disgusting (fish, phlegm, troll bogies and tripe) to the delicious (chocolate, cherry, marshmallow and marmalade), every mouthful is a risk when it comes to Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. In celebration of Ron’s birthday today, we’ve a present he would certainly relish: you can now earn our new Bertie Bott’s Collectors Badge by finding 35 Every-Flavour Beans on pottermore.com. If you’ve a sweet-tooth you may already have discovered 30, but we’ve just hidden five new flavours in Moments across the site – can you sniff them all out?

For help, Pottermore offered a hint to finding one of the new beans: “it’s delicious (although not quite Drooble’s) and its flavour is Moste Potente…” and encourages users to keep an eye on their Moment progress bar to look out for Moments that are not complete now because of the beans.

Visit Pottermore.com to enjoy these new updates, along with never-before released from J.K. Rowling about the world of Harry Potter.

‘Casual Vacancy’ premiere receives 6.6 million viewers, praised by critics

Michael Gambon as Howard Mollison in the television adaption of J.K. Rowling's novel, The Causal Vacancy.

Michael Gambon as Howard Mollison in the television adaption of J.K. Rowling’s novel, The Causal Vacancy. Courtesy of BBC.

The television adaption of The Casual Vacancy premiered yesterday on BBC One to an average of 6.6 million viewers, the highest-rated program in the time slot.

Peaking at a total viewership of 7.3 million, The Casual Vacancy came out on top for its time slot with higher ratings than ITV’s Mr. Selfridge (3.2 million viewers) and Channel 4’s Indian Summers (2.5 million), a colonial drama starring Julie Walters, who starred in the Harry Potter films as Molly Weasley.

In addition to the high ratings, the program received primarily favorable reviews from critics, who praised it as a fine adaption of a not-so-stellar book. The Telegraph writes in their review, “…The performances are uniformly good, the direction is inventive, and there’s an undeniable topicality and panache to this adaptation that convinces you that just around the corner something will pull it all together and make it succeed.

The Causal Vacancy returns next Sunday, February 22 at 9pm.

Did you tune into The Casual Vacancy? What did you think? Comment below!

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