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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!

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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…

umbridge

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.

newspells

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!

‘Trick or Treat’ with Pottermore this Halloween

halloween

This Halloween, Pottermore is encouraging fans to take part in their ‘Trick or Treat.’

Every day at 4pm GMT (11am EST), starting October 16, the Pottermore team will be alternately releasing a #PottermoreTrick or a #PottermoreTreat for fans to figure out and enjoy. Be sure to keep an eye out on the Insider and Pottermore’s social media pages for the

To kick it off, Pottermore is asking fans to vote on whether they should release a Trick or a Treat first. You can vote at the Insider or on their Facebook event page.

What do you think the tricks and treats will be? Tell us in the comments below…

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

 

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

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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!

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