Category Archives: Pottercast

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.

quidditch

“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 

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.

diagoan alley wb studio tour

 

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.

puking pastilles

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban gets new cover

The US edition Harry Potter books are getting a make-over. Scholastic the global children’s publishing, education and media company, recently unveiled the new cover for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – the third of seven trade paperback editions with new covers illustrated by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Kazu Kibuishi.

prisoner of azkaban new cover

 

The complete series of new books and a new boxed set will be available on August 27, 2013, as part of Scholastic’s celebration of the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the original book in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series.

Kazu Kibuishi is best known for his best-selling graphic novel series Amulet, and he suspects that it was his work as a writer that put him in contention for the design job. “At first I was really surprised that I was even asked to try out,” he said. “But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for someone like me, an author for middle-grade readers, to introduce my readers to Harry Potter. That would be the next step in the progression for their reading comprehension.”

Kibuishi has designed new covers for the trade paperback editions of all seven books in the Harry Potter series—they’ll be released in September—but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the one that came easiest: “I knew exactly the moment that I had to depict. I felt it was the most important moment in the entire series.”

In each of the new cover illustrations, Kibuishi perfectly captures a pivotal moment from that particular book. For Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the artwork captures the triumphant moment when Harry uses his Firebolt broom to retrieve the golden dragon’s egg he needs to move forward in the Triwizard Tournament as the crowd cheers him on.

For anyone who has read Prisoner of Azkaban, the scene—a figure summons his patronus—could be considered a bit of a spoiler, but given the passage of time, and the appearance of the movie version in 2004, Kibuishi wasn’t too worried about giving anything away. “When you look at the cover, you don’t know who’s in the foreground and who’s in the background,” he says. “A lot of people already know, but I think a new reader will look at this and not feel that it was a spoiler. They would wonder what was going on.”

One thing he didn’t touch was the Harry Potter logo. It was created by David Saylor, the designer of the original Scholastic editions of the books. Saylor also hired Mary GrandPré to illustrate the covers (her illustrations will still appear on the hardcover and digest paperback editions of the series), so in many ways he defined the Harry Potter aesthetic in the United States. Saylor has since started Graphix, a Scholastic imprint for comics, which publishes Kibuishi’s Amulet series.

Fifteen years after the first U.S. publication of J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in September 1998, there are more than 150 million Harry Potter books in print in the United States alone and the series still hits bestseller lists regularly. The seven Harry Potter books are published in over 200 territories in 74 languages and have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide.

You can pre-order the complete boxed set of new Harry Potter books from Amazon US

harrpotter auction

Rowling-Signed Harry Potter Book Raises Record $228000

harrpotter auction

A first-edition copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” with handwritten notes by author J.K. Rowling sold for 150,000 pounds ($228,000) at a charity auction in London last night.

The Sotheby’s (BID) copy, sold to an anonymous phone bidder, also contained illustrations by Rowling. The event was organized with the English PEN writers’ association, which campaigns for freedom of expression.

Sotheby’s said the sale room fell silent on Tuesday as buyers engaged in a bidding war for the book. The new owner, who bid by telephone, was not identified.

There was a round of applause for the price, which was a record for a printed book by Rowling. A total of 50 authors including Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Seamus Heaney contributed books to the “First Editions, Second Thoughts” event, which raised a total of 439,200 pounds.

The Harry Potter book was one of 51 first editions in the auction. Others included a copy of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” with new illustrations by Quentin Blake. The money raised went to charity.