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J.K. Rowling Releases Dolores Umbridge Back Story on Pottermore
Posted by Megs

As many news outlets posted last week, J.K. Rowling has released some new information on Pottermore today.  Along with that, the first  chapters of Order of the Phoenix are now ready to explore! You can also visit the Great Hall to witness the spectacular annual Hallowe’en feast, and don’t forget to take a peek at the Hallowe’en map on your pottermore.com homepage. A preview of Dolores Umbridge’s back story may be read below.

“…Dolores…is one of the characters for whom I feel the purest dislike…” writes J.K. Rowling in a note at the entry’s conclusion. “Her desire to control, to punish, and to inflict pain, all in the name of law and order, are, I think, every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort’s unvarnished espousal of evil.”

Among the new details about Umbridge that have never before been disclosed:

  • A real person was the inspiration for the character of Dolores Umbridge (J.K. Rowling is deliberately vague on her identity).  She describes her as a person “whom I disliked intensely on sight. The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest.  Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say.”
  • During detention, Umbridge forced Harry to cut the words “I must not tell lies” on the back of his hand, thus becoming the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry.
  • She is revealed to be a half blood – the daughter of a wizard and a Muggle (non-magical person).  This is especially noteworthy because in the books Umbridge lies to bolster her own pure-blood credentials.

According to the press release:

The essay about Dolores Umbridge is just one entry in over 5,500 words of new writing by J.K. Rowling posted on Pottermore at Halloween, to mark the launch of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix onto the website.  Other entries include a look at the magical and mysterious creatures Thestrals, the dark history of the wizarding prison Azkaban, thoughts on the character Sybil Trelawney, details of all who have held the position of Minister for Magic, and an introduction to the ancient wizarding practice of Naming Seers.

Filed Under: Books, Pottermore
J.K. Rowling Releasing ‘History of the Quidditch World Cup’ on Pottermore
Posted by Megs

In a new press release from this morning, Pottermore reveals that J.K. Rowling wrote the “History of the Quidditch World Cup” and the first part has been released on Pottermore already.  She wrote the information after asking fans to use the hashtag #Wizards4ScotlandRugbyTeam on Twitter.

Rowling’s 2,400-word history of the thrilling game played by witches and wizards on flying broomsticks is featured in the popular Harry Potter series of books. “History of the Quidditch World Cup” is one of Rowling’s longest pieces of original content ever posted on Pottermore, which launched April 2012.

“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,” said Susan L. Jurevics, Chief Executive Officer, Pottermore. “We’re committed to being the only digital destination where fans can discover new original content about the world of Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling. ‘History of the Quidditch World Cup’ helps us not only fulfill that mission, but it also serves to entertain and delight our community.”

“History of the Quidditch World Cup” will be available in two sections over the next week on Pottermore.com. Part one, which was posted today, provides historical background about the tournament, information about how the tournament works, and examples of controversial tournaments, including the infamous 1877 match played in Kazakhstan’s Ryn Desert now known as the Tournament that Nobody Remembers.

Part two of J.K. Rowling’s “History of the Quidditch World Cup” will be published Friday, March 21. It will feature amusing recaps of some notable recent matches that have been held every four years since 1990.

“History of Quidditch World Cup” is characterized by Rowling’s humor and wry observations about the sport. In one section about Quidditch regulations, she writes: “The rulebook concerning both on- and off-pitch magic is alleged to stretch to nineteen volumes and to include such rules as ‘no dragon is to be introduced into the stadium for any purpose including, but not limited to, team mascot, coach or cup warmer’ and ‘modification of any part of the referee’s body, whether or not he or she has requested such modifications, will lead to a lifetime ban from the tournament and possibly imprisonment.’”

Filed Under: Books, JK Rowling, Pottermore
Video: Harry Potter Expo at A Celebration of Harry Potter
Posted by Megs

Here we have the last of our video footage from A Celebration of Harry Potter.  Below are a few clips from the Harry Potter Expo that was held at the weekends festivities.  There were booths for Pottermore, WB Studio Tour London, USPS Stamps (featuring the Harry Potter stamp collection, of course), Harry Potter: The Expedition, MinaLima and Scholastic (where Kazu Kibuishi was signing his new illustrations.)

Make sure to check out all our Celebration of Harry Potter coverage!

Filed Under: Books, Celebration of Harry Potter, Harry Potter Leavesden Tour, Harry Potter Theme Park, Pottermore
More Details on A Celebration of Harry Potter
Posted by Megs

The Celebration of Harry Potter mini-site has been updated with new details on the weekends events such as timing and what to expect. Evanna Lynch, James & Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams and Matthew Lewis will be in attendance at the event as well as some of the crew members from the Potter films. See the new information below:

Harry Potter™ Tribute
Friday, January 24 at 7:30pm
Universal Studios® – Music Plaza Stage
On January 24th, the celebration’s festivities officially kick off with a special Friday evening event starring several of the cast members of the Harry Potter™ film series and award-winning illustrator Kazu Kibuishi, who recently reimagined the Harry Potter™ book covers. You’ll enjoy film clips, Q&A sessions with the cast members, and a first glimpse at exclusive new details about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™, opening Summer 2014.

My Life on the Harry Potter™ Film Set: Talent Q&A’s
Saturday, January 25 at 10:00am & 2:00pm
Sunday, January 26 at 3:30pm
Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – Toon Lagoon® Amphitheater
Enjoy a fascinating and entertaining panel discussion featuring some of your favorite actors from the Harry Potter™ films. Learn what it’s like to work on a major motion picture and be part of film history.

Duelling Demonstrations & Wand Combat Masterclass with Paul Harris
Saturday, January 25 at 3:30pm
Sunday, January 26 at 11:30am
Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – Toon Lagoon® Amphitheater
Discover the art of duelling and delve into the world of wand combat as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™ presents a spellbinding masterclass with the world’s only Wand Combat Choreographer Paul Harris. Paul choreographed the epic battle scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and will be on hand to teach you the technique behind wielding a wand – with the help of a special guest.

Graphic Design for the Harry Potter™ Films with MinaLima
Sunday, January 26 at 11:30am
Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – Toon Lagoon® Amphitheater
Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, from the graphic design studio MinaLima will share insights into their role as Graphic Prop Designers, and how their paths crossed at the WB film studios to work for ten years on the Harry Potter™ movies. They will discuss and show some of the iconic props they created for the Harry Potter™ films including the Marauder’s Map, the Daily Prophet™ and The Quibbler, amongst others.

Bringing the Harry Potter™ Films to the Theme Park – Set and Prop Design
Sunday, January 26 at 10:00am
Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – Toon Lagoon® Amphitheater
Harry Potter™ film and theme park Set Designer Alan Gilmore and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Prop Master Eric Baker present a look at how ideas move from the books to the silver screen, and then become real life theme park experiences.

Go Behind the Scenes of Pottermore.com™ from J.K. Rowling
Saturday, January 25 at 11:30am
Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – Toon Lagoon® Amphitheater
Pottermore’s Creative Director gives an exclusive insight into the creation of Moment artwork for Pottermore.com, and a look at the next installment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Plus, get ready for an exclusive reveal as he shares his favorite upcoming new entry from J.K. Rowling.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition
Friday, January 24 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26 from 9:00am to 7:00pm
Universal Studios® – Soundstage 33
Costumes
Get an up-close look at the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating the iconic costumes that have appeared throughout the Harry Potter™ film series. The costumes on display are provided by Harry Potter™: The Exhibition, currently on tour in Edmonton, Canada.

The Sorting Hat™ Experience
Are you a Gryffindor™, or a Slytherin™? A Hufflepuff™? Perhaps a Ravenclaw™? At the beginning of each school year The Sorting Hat™ sorts new Hogwarts™ students into their house, and you’ll have the opportunity to get sorted in a Great Hall setting…sponsored by Harry Potter™: The Exhibition.

Filed Under: Celebration of Harry Potter, Evanna Lynch, Harry Potter Theme Park, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, James and Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Matthew Lewis, Pottermore
Pottermore CEO Talks Future of Website
Posted by Megs

Pottermore News had the chance to interview Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne and asked him numerous questions about the online gaming website.  He discussed what will be coming up on the site this year, you can read his answer below. Also see Part I and Part II of their interview in full.

We will be seeing more content to engage with and new developments with the site. We will see more books rolling out. I hope we are getting faster and better at doing that. I think that some of the feedback we got on the last rollout was that it was great and people got it before Christmas and weren’t expecting it.

At the same time, there was a little bit of disappointment in some areas of how much there was [in the release]. I think we need to strike the balance. We work very hard to make sure what we produce is really good. We’re working with an extraordinarily creative person in terms of J.K. Rowling. We need to make sure we get it right. There will be much more stuff coming out onto the site.

We’ll also be rolling out into more territories. At the moment we’re in English, both in the U.S. and U.K., French, Italian, German and Spanish. The site will be rolling out in Japanese. At the moment only the Shop’s in Japanese. We’ll also be rolling out in South Korea and Brazil. Those I can guarantee, but we may be rolling out into more countries as well.

Otherwise, you will see [the e-books in other languages.] They may not have their own shop but there will definitely be shops for Korea and Brazil. In some of the other territories, we’re going to make the ebooks available from the existing stores. You will see new digital platforms – the Book of Spells on PlayStation is just the beginning of what we’ll do in Playstation and other platforms.

[All of the different experiences will be about] experiencing Pottermore on all the platforms and access for us to do so. [Pottermore] will continually evolve. One of the great privileges of running a digital business is that we’ll be talking about things next year which we didn’t even know we’re going to exist this year. We need to react to those opportunities and make sure we stay at the forefront of what we’re doing.

Filed Under: Pottermore
First Chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban Available on Pottermore
Posted by Megs

Today Pottermore users can begin exploring the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  The Insider has been updated with the following information:

Board the Knight Bus, enlist the help of Sir Cadogan, attend a Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, and much more.

There are also five new exclusive content entries from J.K. Rowling to discover, including additional information on Aunt Marge.

Remember that you need to progress through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Pottermore.com before you can explore Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You will also need to collect all the items from your second-year shopping list, which can be found in Chapter Four, Moment One of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Filed Under: Pottermore
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