Category Archives: Pottercast

dolores umbridge

A new ‘Harry Potter’ story will unfold on Halloween

  • Rowling will upload short story to Harry Potter website on October 31  
  • Will focus on the wizard’s arch-enemy Dolores Umbridge in fifth book 
  • Earlier this year a story was published describing Harry as an adult 
  • Writer has ruled out releasing another Harry Potter novel in near future 

It’s no Halloween trick: There’s more witchcraft and wizardry in store for “Harry Potter” fans, who can expect a new tale from author J.K. Rowling on Oct. 31.

In an announcement posted to Pottermore.com, Rowling reveals that she has penned a new 1,700-word story that will offer “revealing first-person” thoughts about former Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge.

jk rowing new potter story

A spokesman for the author later confirmed it would be ‘filled with many new details’, as well as Miss Rowling’s ‘revealing first-person thoughts and reflections’ of Professor Umbridge, first introduced to readers in her fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The news comes after Miss Rowling, 49, published a tale on Pottermore earlier this year featuring a grown-up Harry watching a Quidditch match.

Short stories are not the only Potter-related pet projects that Miss Rowling has been working on, however.

It emerged this month that the wealthy author has submitted plans to build a cottage similar to Hogwarts caretaker Hagrid’s hut at her estate in Perthshire.

Earlier this year the author revealed she would be writing the screenplays for ‘at least’ a trilogy of Harry Potter spin-off films.

Film Harry Potter Dan radcliffe
The writer has not ruled out ever writing another Harry Potter book but revealed she had no plans to do so in the near future. The fictional wizard was portrayed in a film franchise by Daniel Radcliffe (pictured)
dolores umbridge
The short story is expected to offer more detail into the character of Dolores Umbridge (centre) played by Imelda Staunton

Based on her 2011 book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the films are thought to be planned for release in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

But while fans speculate about the release of another Harry Potter novel, a statement on the writer’s website revealed no such plans were in the works.

‘I have always refused to say “never” to this question, because I think it would be foolish to rule out something I might want to do in a few years’ time.

‘However, I have no immediate plans to write another Harry Potter novel, and I do think that I have rounded off Harry’s story in the seven published books.’

jk rowling

J.K. Rowling Drops Harry Potter Hints to Send Twitter Crazy

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had fans speculating feverishly over the last 24 hours after a series of cryptic tweets sent to her 3.74 million followers.

jk rowlingThe usually active British author has been tweeting less in recent weeks, and now we know why. Rowling told her fans that she was busy working on a novel and “tweaking a screenplay” without giving anything away as to the titles of the projects she’s working on — although it is a safe bet that the screenplay is Potter spin-off Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. She has also been involved in charity work with Lumos, an organization she founded to combat the harm caused by orphanages and similar institutions for children.

Read more J.K. Rowling Pens Letter as Dumbledore to Teen Shooting Victim

Rowling then followed her update tweet with a cryptic message: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Re-tweeted over 4,000 times, the riddle or anagram had Rowling fans and Potter-geeks around the world debating what it all could mean, with the most optimistic fans hoping it was yet another hint that there will be further Harry Potter stories.

Check out Rowling’s tweets below and see if you can decipher what they mean.

multidirectional `perfect paraxial' cloak

New York Scientists Unveil ‘Invisibility Cloak’ to Rival Harry Potter’s

Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists at the University of Rochester have recently developed a simple and inexpensive lens device that hides objects from view.

multidirectional `perfect paraxial' cloak

There have been many complex approaches to cloaking all with the basic goal of taking light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there.

“Many cloaking designs work fine when you look at an object straight on, but if you move your viewpoint even a little, the object becomes visible,” explained John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester.

Previous cloaking devices can also cause the background to shift drastically, making it obvious that the cloaking device is present. But, Howell and graduate student Joseph Choi developed a combination of four standard lenses that keeps the object hidden as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing position.

“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking,” said Choi, a PhD student at Rochester’s Institute of Optics.

cloaking-by-Joseph-Choi-Adam_FensterThe Rochester Cloak can be scaled up as large as the size of the lenses, allowing fairly large objects to be cloaked. And, unlike some other devices, it’s broadband so it works for the whole visible spectrum of light, rather than only for specific frequencies.

While their device is not quite like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, Howell had some thoughts about potential applications, including using cloaking to effectively let a surgeon “look through his hands to what he is actually operating on,” he said. The same principles could be applied to a truck to allow drivers to see through blind spots on their vehicles.

Howell became interested in creating simple cloaking devices with off-the-shelf materials while working on a holiday project with his children.

For instructions on how to build your own Rochester Cloak, and a link to their paper submitted to the journal Optics Express, visit U. of Rochester News Center.

mexican harry potter

Mexican’s ‘Harry Potter’ Collection Is World’s Biggest

Menahem Asher Silva Vargas’s 3,097-piece haul of Rowling-themed goods wins him place in Guinness book.

mexican harry potter

A Mexico City man is in Hogwarts heaven after his collection of “Harry Potter” paraphernalia was named the world’s largest.

Menahem Asher Silva Vargas has spent nearly 15 years hoarding memorabilia related to British author J.K. Rowling’s young-adult wizard-fantasy series, which spawned eight blockbuster films.

His collection fills two rooms and counts everything from magic wands and toy figurines to Gryffindor scarves and replica Quidditch brooms.

Guinness World Records officially recognised it Monday as the world No 1, at 3,097 pieces. The old mark was 807.

mexico harry potter collection

 

Silva Vargas said he began collecting without any intent to amass a huge collection. But soon it was like being under a spell.

He laughingly called his obsession both a blessing and a curse: “My salary, my bonuses … it all ended up here.”

What Harry Potter stuff do you own? Check out some interesting things you might love to get your hands on.

Harry Potter Monopoly Game?

Can't wait?
…to get your hands on the custom made Harry Potter Monopoly Game? CLICK HERE 
wizard's monopoly
harry potterr board game

This custom-made set, by Etsy seller CustomLumos, caught our eye recently. “Wizard’s Monopoly” comes in a lovely wooden trunk, with a board made up of locations from throughout the wizarding world. It’s a beautiful presentation, though the $1000 asking price is ridiculous, even if you take into account the necessary legal fees the creator will need when the combined forces of J.K. Rowling and Parker Brothers come down on them (you can buy PDFs of the board and wizard-branded play money to print at home for much less exorbitant amounts).

And because it’s Etsy, the listed materials also of course include “charms, spells, and some Dark Magic.” So if you end up bashing your friend over the head with the trunk when he grabs 12 Grimmauld Place out from under you, you can always blame evil wizards for your murderous impulses.

the-silkworm-jk-rowling review

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith: Review

Consider the strange and remarkable case of JK Rowling. Her first book, for children, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was rejected by at least 12 publishers. It was bought for £2,500 and published, in 1997, in an edition of about 1,000 copies.rowling

Rowling’s storytelling struck an immediate chord with juvenile readers. Within a year, she was winning all the children’s book prizes. By the time two Harry Potter sequels – The Chamber of Secrets (1998) and The Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) – had been launched, Rowling was a pawn turned queen, and her work a global cult.

Not since Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories had a writer of Scots ancestry – indeed, any writer – achieved such an astounding audience. Subsequent Harry Potter adventures smashed all known sales records. In 2004, Forbes magazine named Rowling the first person to become a billion-dollar author.

Just as remarkable, in 2007, Rowling completed her seven-volume Harry Potter sequence, withThe Deathly Hallows, nailing down almost every last detail of a mind-bendingly intricate plot, and bringing an elephantine narrative to a satisfying and possibly open-ended conclusion. In the annals of British literature, Rowling’s Harry Potter series is an unprecedented achievement.

Inevitably, there was a reckoning. In 2011, after a troubled hiatus, Rowling fired her agent and the following year published The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults, under her own name. The reviews were mixed, but she still sold more than a million copies worldwide, while clearly relishing this second act in her literary career.

Meanwhile, like Conan Doyle, who followed Holmes and Watson with his Professor Challenger novels, Rowling hankered for another series. Unlike him, she wanted to write and publish without the hype or expectation surrounding her literary life. Secretly, she adopted a pseudonym and forged a new protagonist. Once again, the author of Harry Potter was in the business of creating an alternative world for herself. She almost got away with it.

Almost, but not quite. When, in April 2013, Little Brown published a debut crime novel by a certain Robert Galbraith, described as “a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator”, there was a smattering of excellent reviews, the usual modest sales (some 1,500 copies) and then… Hey presto! Rowling’s secret was out. She was “Robert Galbraith”.

Sure enough, The Cuckoo’s Calling became a No 1 bestseller. Whatever Rowling’s aspirations to control the execution and reception of her mid-career progress after Harry Potter, the awkward truth is that she is now the rich-and-famous victim of her celebrity, with all the consequent stresses of such a fate. Intriguingly, her second Robert Galbraith novel is a playful, obsessive yarn about the ironies of the literary life.

Novelist Owen Quine goes missing having just completed a manuscript replete with vicious pen-portraits of his nearest and dearest. In the works of Conan Doyle’s contemporary, PG Wodehouse, such a premise is the basis for farce. Not here. Tellingly, for Rowling, Quine’s literary evisceration of his agent, his editor, and his publisher forms the basis for a detective story that does not merely suspend disbelief but hoists it like an escape artist over an abyss of improbabilities.

Private detective Cormoran Strike (named after a mythological Cornish giant) is commissioned by Quine’s wife to track him down and bring him home. After 123 pages of teasing stuff about literary London, revenge tragedy and the Latin for silkworm (Bombyx Mori), Strike finds Quine horribly murdered (trussed, eviscerated, and putrid) in an empty house, 179 Talgarth Road, W14. There is no shortage of nasty suspects with creepy hidden drives, ample opportunity and oodles of motive.

The book isn’t perfect. It’s a tad too long, and the suspect interrogations grow repetitive. Sometimes the reader feels Rowling may be trying too hard to move away from Hogwarts. The fair amount of swearing reminds one of a rebellious teenager set free.

Some will also argue that while Harry Potter altered the landscape in a way no children’s novel ever has, here Rowling does the opposite: She plays to form. “The Silkworm” is a very well-written, wonderfully entertaining take on the traditional British crime novel, but it breaks no new ground, and Rowling seems to know that. Robert Galbraith may proudly join the ranks of English, Scottish and Irish crime writers such as Tana French, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, John Connolly, Kate Atkinson and Peter Robinson, but she wouldn’t overshadow them. Still, to put any author on that list is very high praise.

The upside of being as well known as Rowling is obvious — sales, money, attention. That’s not what she’s after here. The downside — and her reason for using the pseudonym — is that telling a story needs a little bit of anonymity. Rowling deserves that chance, even if she can’t entirely have it. We can’t unring that bell, but in a larger sense, we readers get more. We get the wry observations when we can’t ignore the author’s identity and we get the escapist mystery when we can. In the end, the fictional publisher Daniel Chard got it right: “Content is king,” and on that score, both J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith triumph.

 Want to buy the Silkworm? We have links to relevant online shops in: USA, UK, India 

JK Rowling

Harry Potter Returns In New J.K. Rowling Story

JK Rowling, writing as gossip columnist ‘Rita Skeeter’ for the Pottermore site, exposes his first grey hairs and Ron Weasley’s now-thinning thatch.

Harry Potter is back — mysterious, married, and going gray.

JK RowlingJ.K. Rowling has given fans a glimpse of the grown-up boy wizard in a new story posted Tuesday on her Pottermore website.

It’s the first update since “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was published in 2007, but Rowling spokesman Mark Hutchinson said there are “no plans” for a new Potter novel.

The 1,500-word story describes Harry, about to turn 34, attending the final of the Quidditch World Cup with his family and old friends Ron and Hermione.

Harry now has “threads of silver” in his hair and a mysterious cut on his cheekbone, related to his “top secret” work as an evil-battling Auror.

The story is written in the style of a gossip column for the Daily Prophet by reporter Rita Skeeter, a minor character in the novels.

ThRita Skeeter Harry Pottere style allows Rowling to poke fun at the tabloid press, a real-life bugbear that she has accused of invading her privacy and that of her family.

Skeeter observes that Harry and friends are “no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday” and speculates about the state of Harry’s marriage to Ginny Weasley.

She says Ron Weasley’s red hair “appears to be thinning slightly,” and notes witheringly that Harry still wears “the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient 12-year-old.”

The story discloses that Ron now runs the family joke shop, while Hermione is a — literally — high-flying civil servant, Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

Skeeter also writes sniffily about a “prolonged period of what, in my young day, was called ‘snogging'” between two younger members of the party.

The article is part of a series of pieces written by Rowling about the 2014 Quidditch Cup for Pottermore. The final article will be published on 11 July, and will see Ginny Potter, now a journalist, cover the cup final, between Brazil and Bulgaria.

There are also updates on other characters, including Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, as well as glimpses of a new generation of teenage wizards.

Rowling has long said that “Deathly Hallows,” would be the last Potter novel, but has produced other Potter-related material, including spin-off story collection, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

Rowling has also published a novel for adults, “The Casual Vacancy,” and two detective thrillers under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Gringotts Comes Alive at Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley opens to the public July 8 at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fla. Diagon Alley expands the park’s original Harry Potter attraction, which was modeled after Hogsmeade Village and opened in 2010.

gringgots-diagonalley

Guests at the new attraction will have the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds made famous in the Harry Potter franchise including, a trip through Gringotts Wizarding Bank (complete with firing breathing dragon), Knockturn Alley, Ollivanders, the Leaky Cauldron and more.

Check out the Behind the Scenes video:

Emma Watson graduation ceremony

Emma Watson Graduates From Brown University

It wasn’t a Hogwarts-style ceremony, but a degree from a top Ivy League university is just as good, right?

Emma Watson walked across the stage at Brown University on Sunday in Providence, R.I., where she graduated with a degree in English literature.

The renowned actress, who is most well known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise, has been enrolled at the institution since 2009.

Since beginning her studies at the highly venerated university, the 24-year-old Brit has also starred in five major Hollywood films.

Harry Potter christmas gift

Fan-Made Harry Potter MOOC Does Hogwarts Better Than Pottermore

A group of intrepid Harry Potter fans have made your childhood wish come true, creating a website called Hogwarts Is Here, where you can take free, online classes in the same subjects studied by Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

HiH (as the site refers to itself) has turned Hogwarts into a series of Massive Open Online Courses, letting users “enroll” in the wizarding school. Nobody tell J.K. Rowling, though, because this site does the interactive Hogwarts experience better than the author-sanctioned Pottermore

Hogwarts castle replica
Hogwarts Castle Replica

Hogwarts Is Here is essentially what it sounds like: an online university. It has all of the classic Potter classes, like potions and transfiguration. And the curriculum is impressively thorough. The textbooks you can purchase from Diagon Alley (after you set up your Gringotts bank account, of course) are nothing for a muggle to scoff at. The HiH version of A History of Magic “written” by Bathilda Bagshot has 17 chapters, covering topics like “Magic’s Beginnings” and “Major Religions and Magic: Judaism”. Most “chapters” are only a few paragraphs long, but according to the site’s FAQ all content was created and written (and some are still being written) by “volunteer fans” – that is some serious HP dedication and knowledge.

So how do you take a real wizarding course? On Slate, Alex Heimbach wrote about her time as a HiH student: you sort yourself into a House, pick a dorm, and then sign up for classes, which are composed of nine lessons with assignments. That’s right, there’s classwork for this online Hogwarts that is actually graded (you can still explore the site without doing any work, but you’ll forever be a first-year). Heimbach explains:

One assignment for Transfiguration asked for 300 words exploring possible loopholes in one of the exceptions to Gamp’s Law—an expansion on a comment Hermione makes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows about the five things that cannot be created with magic. My essay, which discussed how you might circumvent the law against creating money by transforming less valuable items into more valuable ones, received a C, thus proving wrong the kids who teased me for being such a Hermione.

Hogwarts Is Here is quick to point out that it has no affiliation with J.K. Rowling or Warner Bros., and is an independently created fan site. It doesn’t charge any money, but it is accepting donations. The fact that it uses HP material could pose a problem though, especially when it starts to get more attention, considering it’s giving the licensed Pottermore a serious run for its money.

Pottermore came out with huge hype, but scored mixed reviews (“More like PotterSNORE” is our personal favorite). HiH is a welcome supplement. With HiH and a trip to Universal’s expanding Potter theme park, we can all pretend our 11th birthdays didn’t come and go without an owl dropping a Hogwarts letter on our doorstep.