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Pottermore Announces Site Overhaul
Posted by Megs

Interactive Harry Potter site Pottermore has announced some major changes to the website in a message to members.

Soon, Pottermore as you know it will transform into a new and reimagined website, giving you the opportunity to discover even more about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Part one of Pottermore’s story, in which you have enjoyed the depiction of Harry’s story through illustrated ‘Moment’ artwork and experienced life within Hogwarts, is ending. We are now preparing for part two of Pottermore’s story to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore, becoming a place to imagine more and share in a world beyond the seven book series.

As a memento of your Pottermore journey so far we’ve created a personalised, printable certificate, which is available for you to print until 1:00pm (British Summer Time) on 16 September. Thank you for your dedication and for sharing the Pottermore experience with us so far. We hope you like what’s next…

We will keep you updated as more is revealed!

Filed Under: Pottermore
#PottermoreChristmas Starts December 12th; New Moments & Potions
Posted by Megs

Earlier this week, Pottermore announced that Christmas is coming early to the site with #PottermoreChristmas. Starting on December 12th, and for each day leading up to December 23rd, there will be new content made available on the site. These new tidbits will be released at 1pm GMT (8am EST). Many news outlets are reporting, incorrectly, that there will be 12 new stories. The site originally posted:

With wonderful writing by J.K. Rowling in Moments from Half-Blood Prince, shiny gold Galleons and even a new potion or two, make sure you don’t miss out – just visit pottermore.com and answer our rhyming riddles to unwrap a #PottermoreChristmas surprise every day.

But after the major news outlets (meaning not Potter fan sites) started getting the story wrong they decided to clarify by saying:

As true Potter fans worked out straight away, our 12 days of festive surprises and accompanying rhyming riddles refer to new potions and Moments in addition to several new entries by J.K. Rowling that will be posted on pottermore.com between 12th and 23rd December. Sorry to disappoint fans, but there will not be a set of 12 new short stories, one for each day of Christmas. Even Pottermore wouldn’t be that generous.

Filed Under: Books, JK Rowling, Pottermore
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, Pottermore, Universal Studios Orlando, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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
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: The Exhibition, James and Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Matthew Lewis, Pottermore, Universal Studios Orlando, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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