quidditch

J.K. Rowling writes history of Quidditch World Cup for Potter Fans

The website Pottermore recently posted the first part of an essay by Rowling on the history of the Quidditch World Cup, the championship of the popular sport in the ‘Potter’ world. It’s only the newest original material from Rowling revealed on Pottermore.

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Matches marred by violence and fan protest, bitter feuds in the governing body and a “logistical nightmare” for the host nation.

This may sound like a worst-case scenario for the upcoming football World Cup in Brazil but it actually describes the previously unknown history of its Quidditch equivalent.

To the delight of Harry Potter fans, J K Rowling Friday published the first of a two-part history of the Quidditch World Cup on the Pottermore website she set up to expand the magical “universe” of her boy wizard novels.

Although Quidditch the sport – in which players flying on broomsticks propel balls into ring-shaped goals – owes more to rugby, Rowling’s World Cup history seems to have taken inspiration from the petty squabbles surrounding football.

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“A source of vehement disagreements, a security risk for all who attend it and a frequent focus for unrest and protest, the Quidditch World Cup is simultaneously the most exhilarating sporting event on earth and a logistical nightmare for the host nation,” Rowling writes.

One Romanian player in the 1809 tournament had to be stopped from strangling two referees, she writes, and when the final between his nation and New Spain (Mexico) didn’t go to plan he jinxed an entire forest, resulting in a seven-hour battle between trees and wizards.

Violence also marred the 1994 Quidditch World Cup in the UK, when supporters of Lord Voldemort caused mayhem on Dartmoor.

Quidditch through the agesJK Rowling has been seemingly inspired by the petty squabbles of professional football.
Just like Sepp Blatter – the colourful president of football’s world governing body Fifa – the head of the International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee has not governed without controversy.

In 1971, Rowling writes, Australian Royston Idlewind was contentiously appointed international director of the ICWQC and caused outrage when he tried to ban wands from matches.

A boycott by threatened fans followed. In the end, supporters took in their wands disguised as a “new style of musical instrument” which emitted loud raspberries (sounding similar to the vuvuzela that caused so much irritation during the 2010 South African football world cup), forcing Idlewind’s resignation.

A spokesman for Pottermore said that the first instalment of the history had already proved one of the most popular posts on the site, and the second will be published next Friday, featuring “amusing recaps of some notable recent matches that have been held every four years since 1990”.

Susan Jurevics, Pottermore’s chief executive officer, said: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to publish such an imaginative and engaging story from J K Rowling about the history of the wizarding world’s most exciting sport.”

Rowling is, however, more of a rugby fan and on Friday urged her three million Twitter followers to support Scotland in the Six Nations championship – promising the History of the Quidditch World Cup as a reward.

She has even claimed Scottish rugby is appreciated in the secret magical world, with wizards admiring “the strength and courage of Muggles prepared to engage in sport so brutal” but supporting only Scotland – going as far as to establish the Wizarding Supporters of Scottish Rugby Union: “Discussing Scottish rugby has become one of several covert identifiers for wizards meeting in front of Muggles and seeking to establish each other’s credentials.”

Related Product: Quidditch through the Ages – Get in US | UK|India

harry potter book covers

21 Harry Potter covers from around the world

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has been translated into 67 languages and has sold over 450 million copies worldwide.

To reach a global audience, the series has had a slew of different covers. We wanted to share this cool mash up depicting 21 of the cover styles – including one made by a fan – in one graphic.

harry potter book covers

 

The line up is as follows:

1) U.K. Children’s
2) Bloomsbury Signature Edition (U.K.)
3) U.K. Adult’s
4) New U.K. Adult edition
5) U.S.
6) New U.S. edition
7) Swedish
8) Dutch
9) French
10) Dutch pocket edition
11) Danish
12) Italian
13) Finnish
14) German
15) Japanese
16) Spanish
17) Chinese
18) French adult
19) M. S. Corley Edition (fan-made)
20) Ukrainian
21) German adult

diagon alley google street view

Harry Potter Alliance brings together fans to affect social change

The Harry Potter Alliance is a nonprofit coalition whose work so far has included creating a YouTube video titled ‘The Hunger Games Are Real’ which aims to raise awareness of poverty and hunger in the US.

Thought “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” were just fun and games?

Think again.

Today the series’ famously cult-like fans are using these popular fiction books as a means to affect social change.

The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of fans who use “the power of story to inspire and affect social change,” is launching a campaign inspired by Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy to fight social injustice in the US.

The nonprofit Alliance has created a “The Hunger Games are Real” YouTube video and a social media campaign called “The Odds Are in Our Favor” which shares statistics about poverty, hunger, and income inequality in the US with fans.

In an LA Times op-ed, Harry Potter Alliance executive director Andrew Slack writes, “If the books are supposed to function as a cautionary tale against the real class divide in the U.S., we need not look far for evidence. The future of Panem is upon us: More than 20 million Americans can’t find full-time jobs, 22% of children live in poverty and middle-class wages have been largely stagnant since 1974. Meanwhile, corporate profits are at an all-time high.

“If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, the same can be said of systemic economic inequality. The pull of the American dream is still so strong that many believe the only reasonable explanation for poverty is that it’s poor people’s fault.”

The “Hunger Games are Real” campaign is using excitement behind “The Hunger Games,” a story about inequality, to attract interest. “The Hunger Games” is a story about economic inequality, Slack argues, in which the fictitious country of Panem is actually the United States some decades in the future, where a fraction of people control almost all of the wealth and starvation is a daily experience.

According to the UK’s Guardian, actor Donald Sutherland, who plays President Coriolanus Snow, the archvillain of the Hunger Games series in the latest film, said in a Guardian interview that “I hope that they [young people] will take action because it’s getting drastic in this country.”

The campaign hopes to spread its message through its YouTube video, social media, and a three-fingered salute used in the “Hunger Games” as a symbol of solidarity against corruption and inequality.

In the Times op-ed, Slack writes, “Perhaps Lionsgate will embrace the simple but radical message of its blockbuster films: No one should have to go hungry in a nation of plenty. After all, fantasy is not an escape from our world but an invitation to go deeper into it. And we will keep going deeper until the odds are in everyone’s favor.”

Using popular fiction to inspire social change – what do you think of this trend?

Originally posted at Christian Science Monitor 

JK Rowling Havard speech

JK Rowling’s inspiring Havard address

J.K. ROWLING, author of the best-selling Harry Potterbook series, delivers her Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHGqp8lz36c]

Text as delivered follows.
Copyright of JK Rowling, June 2008

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.

The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I have endured at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world’s largest Gryffindor reunion.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step to self improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These may seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. I know that the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil, now.

So they hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.

So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working at the African research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to speak against their governments. Visitors to our offices included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had left behind.

I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him back to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just had to give him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard, and read.

And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.

Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, people who have been kind enough not to sue me when I took their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives. Thank you very much.

voldy_grave

Harry Potter fans flock to real life grave of Lord Voldemort

HARRY Potter fans are flocking to an Edinburgh grave – because they believe it is the last resting place of evil wizard Lord Voldermort.

HarryPotter_Voldemort_grave

Harry Potter fans have been visiting a grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard and leaving dozens of tributes. The 19th-century grave belongs to Thomas Riddell, who died in 1806 aged 72.

Fans believe it is the inspiration behind the name of Voldemort from the JK Rowling books, whose real name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. The author was said to have taken much inspiration for names in the novel from graves and texts around the city of Edinburgh.

Riddell died in 1806 aged 72, but his name is believed to have inspired Harry Potter author J K Rowling, who picked up identities for a string of characters from Edinburgh’s streets, landmarks and graveyards. Voldemort – played by Ralph Fiennes in the Harry Potter series – was born Tom Marvolo Riddle.

voldy_grave

Thomas Riddle’s grave in Edinburgh has become a shrine for Harry Potter fans

The grave bearing his name is now a magnet for follwers of the Potter books and films, with dozens leaving notes next to the headstone. But Edinburgh University students, Richard Duffy and Will Naameh, who run The Potter Trail through city spots connected to the texts, say people may be getting in a “muggle” between fact and fiction.

Will, 21, said: “This recent trend to leave notes and such has been building up over the past month.

The fact and the fiction have become a little blurred – on the tour we do state that ‘This is Voldemort’s grave’ but most people understand he is just an inspiration.”

gravestone

Thomas Riddle’s grave states that he was from Befsborough in Berwick and died in Edinburgh on 24 November 1806, aged 72. It also commemorates his son, also Thomas, who was Captain of the 14th Regiment and died at Trinidad in the West Indies on 12 September 1802, aged just 26; and his daughters Christian and Maira Jane who died aged 31 and 47.

jk-rowling-220x256J K Rowling has previously said that the tombstone of Thomas Riddell Esquire in the famous Kirkyard may have subconsciously been the inspiration for Voldemort’s true name.

The nearby gravestone of poet William ‘Topaz’ McGonagall is also said to have offered inspiration for the name of Professor McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry.

One note on the grave says: “RIP Tom, thank you for making us all believe in magic. You are an inspiration.”

But another sneers: “Dear idiots, you know there’s a difference between fiction and reality, right?”

cuckoo's calling

How JK Rowling Was Really Unmasked

A London lawyer has admitted inadvertently outing J K Rowling as a crime author, after confiding her secret identity to his wife’s best friend.

Chris Gossage, who works for law firm Russells, insisted the “leak” was not “part of any marketing plan” as J K Rowling issued a statement saying she was “disappointed” and “very angry”.

The author, best known for her Harry Potter series, was this week unmasked as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, writing behind the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

The revelation has been the subject of global speculation this week, with some noting the book had received positive reviews but mediocre sales of just 1,500 copies.

After it was identified as being written by J K Rowling, sales rocketed as publishers commissioned another 300,000 copies to keep up with demand.

Russells yesterday apologised “unreservedly” for the disclosure, which occurred after partner Chris Gossage shared the information with his wife’s best friend Judith Callegari during a private conversation. A Twitter user under the name @judecallegari later appears to have sent a public message to a Sunday Times journalist.

Rowling has now issued a statement saying she was “very angry” that her trust was “misplaced”.

“A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know,” she said.

“To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

A spokesman for Russells added: “”Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified JK Rowling’s agent.

“We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither JK Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.”

A spokesman confirmed that Gossage was still a partner but declined to comment on Rowling’s relationship with the firm.

Rowling, 47, has previously said it had been “wonderful” to publish without hype or expectation, after posing as a retired military policeman to write her debut crime novel.

The Cuckoo’s Calling remained at the top of Amazon.co.uk’s bestselling list on Thursday for the fourth consecutive day.

The novel had only sold 1,500 hardback copies since being published in April but on Monday raced to the top of bestseller list, leaving high street and online book merchants unable to meet demand.

Publisher Little, Brown, which last year published Rowling’s first adult novel The Casual Vacancy, said it was immediately reprinting The Cuckoo’s Calling - about war veteran turned private eye Cormoran Strike investigating the death of a model.

Buy The Cuckoo’s Calling in - US | UK | India

How JK Rowling was unmasked

rowling-unmasked

JK Rowling’s secret was uncovered after a Sunday newspaper became suspicious

Prof Peter Millican of Hertford College, University of Oxford, helped unmask JK Rowling as debut crime writer Robert Galbraith.

An expert in computer linguistics, the professor developed software to analyse and compare texts.

He analysed The Cuckoo’s Calling against Rowling’s other novels, The Casual Vacancy and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

“I was given some text by The Sunday Times – I had two known texts by JK Rowling, two by Ruth Rendell, two by PD James and two by Val McDermid.

“What I did was clean up the texts, put them into my software and do a battery of tests to see what similarities there were.

‘Striking’ comparisons

Professor Peter MillicanProfessor Millican compared word length and punctuation patterns in a series of tests

“I was testing things like word length, sentence length, paragraph length, frequency of particular words and the pattern of punctuation,” he explained.

“What was striking about the tests was how often The Cuckoo’s Calling came closest to the texts by JK Rowling and it was closer to those than to any other crime novels.

“In the vast majority of these tests I found that the new book came closer to A Casual Vacancy and/or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than it came to the other six books by the other three authors.

“The analysis corroborated quite strongly the hypothesis that had been put to me that she had written [The Cuckoo's Calling].

“Given that there was some independent evidence – apparently – that it was written by a woman, I was comparing it with texts by three other women and certainly, of those four, I had no doubt that JK Rowling was far and away the most likely (author).

“The great virtue of the tests that I was using is that they were based on very generic qualities of the texts, like length of sentences or frequencies of very common words like ‘the’ or ‘to’, or ‘in’, not very distinctive words, and those sorts of patterns tend to be absolutely unconscious to the author and often quite consistent between their texts.

“The conclusion was that on a lot of these tests – surprisingly many – The Cuckoo’s Calling came out much closer to the JK Rowling text than to the others.

“Normally with these tests I would try to test novels against each other from the same genre and I found it quite significant that in this case, we had a crime novel which proved to be more similar to JK Rowling’s non-crime novels than it was to other authors’ crime novels, and I think that does give great significance to the tests.”
- via BBC News

Buy The Cuckoo’s Calling in - US | UK | India

Rowling publishes critically acclaimed novel under pen name

Hold your hippogriffs!

Best-selling Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is the secret scribe behind “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” a brilliant new detective novel penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

cuckoo's calling

The publisher’s Web site claimed Galbraith was the alias of a former Royal Military Police investigator. But literary sleuths were on to Rowling.

Three months after the book’s debut, Rowling came clean to The Sunday Times of London.

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being ‘Robert Galbraith’ has been such a liberating experience,” Rowling told the paper. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” follows Cormoran Strike, a war veteran-turned-private eye who investigates the supposed suicide of a model.

14.1n012.Rowling.ta--300x450Rowling has mentioned her love of detective books in the past. Still, bookworms had other clues.

Rowling and Galbraith had the same agent, and Galbraith was the only client who had a silhouette instead of a photograph on the agency’s Web site.

Without the baggage of “Potter,” “The Cuckoo’s Calling” enjoyed strong sales and good reviews.

The Times noted that another successful crime writer, Peter James, said, “I thought it was by a very mature writer, and not a first-timer.”

Some online comments noted how good the “male” author was at describing women’s clothes and people’s looks.

Two independent computer linguistic experts, Peter Millican from Oxford University and Patrick Juola from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, were commissioned to run the last Harry Potter novel and another Rowling novel,” A Casual Vacancy,” against “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and two other detective novels through their specialist programs.

Neither knew Rowling and Galbraith were the same person, but both came back pointing to considerable similarities in phrases and styles. “It was striking that ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ came out significantly closer to ‘A Casual Vacancy’ and even ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ than the other books,” said Millican.

In broadcast interviews a few years ago with Stephen Fry and Jeremy Paxman, Rowling said she would much prefer to write any books after Harry Potter under a pseudonym.

The second Strike book, which it is understood has already been written, will be published next year — under the name of Robert Galbraith. But this time we will know who “he” is.

Buy The Cuckoo’s Calling in US | UK | India

 

Diagon Alley Is Now on Google Street View

diagon alley google street view

The shops of Diagon Alley from Harry Potter are now on Google Maps Street View.

It’s no Marauder’s Map, but Google now lets you explore the set of Diagon Alley from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. In Street View mode, you can see 360-degree images of Ollivanders Wand Shop, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop and Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary.

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The Diagon Alley set brings to life the shop setting from J.K. Rowling’s legendary Harry Potter series of seven best-selling books, which grew into a successful eight-movie franchise. Warner Bros. Studio Tour says the Diagon Alley set took more than three months to build, and it took six months to create over 20,000 products to put on the shops’ shelves.

Explore Diagon Alley for yourself on Google Maps. It’s a fun experience for Harry Potter fans, but it makes me wonder what adventures Harry, Ron and Hermione would have missed out on if they had Google Maps and never got lost.

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