A Hidden Treasure: Bespoke Handwritten Hogwarts Letters From MinaLima!

MinaLima_Prop Replica HP Hogwarts Acceptance Letter 1


MinaLima have been designing graphics of the highest quality for the J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World for over a decade. First they worked on the Harry Potter films, then went on to design aspects of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios theme parks. Now they continue their work on the Fantastic Beasts film series.

Potter fans will be familiar with practically all of their designs, and delighted by their more obscure ones – hidden from the camera view or never used at all, but given new life in their collections. Of course, Harry Potter’s welcome letter to Hogwarts is one of the first magical props we see in the movies. MinaLima are now offering a bespoke replica of the letter, handwritten by Miraphora Mina herself (yes, she is the hand of McGonagall!), with the option to personalise your letter if you so choose.

MinaLima_Prop Replica HP Hogwarts Acceptance Letter 1

“Without this there would be no story. We wouldn’t be at Hogwarts, Harry wouldn’t be there. It’s the very beginning” says Eduardo Lima, the latter half of the MinaLima design duo, sharing with us the handwritten letter in person for the very first time. The hand-bound display box is itself a thing of absolute beauty. Tied up delicately with a bow, decorated with golden stars and an owl, holding the letter in a silk display. You can see every single emerald green stroke of the quill on the envelope, crafted expertly by Mira. Eduardo’s right, of course. Selecting this prop as one of their bespoke replicas is an obvious choice. But how is it created?

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Mira tells us that each letter takes a few hours, with each letter crafted stroke by stroke, blotting the pen to make sure there are no smudges or scratches. The pen itself – sadly not included in the box – is an old-style fountain quill that wouldn’t be at all out of place in Hogwarts!

The set includes Harry’s equipment list from Hogwarts, which took some impressively tiny writing on Mira’s part. Having designed the Marauder’s Map we suppose she’s used to that by now, and she says that her experience with tiny-calligraphy actually goes even further back than her days on Potter“This is what I spent my childhood doing, writing really tiny!”

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Not every letter in the film was handwritten, making this an extra-special offer. Rather than a printed replica on plain A4, you’re receiving an invaluable prop you can be assured was created by the designers for special, close-up shots on the movies. Mira explains how the letters were crafted on set of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone:

‘There was probably around twenty to thirty handwritten letters used in the film, the rest were all printed, and we actually had some really thin, well, blank copies. I think the one Dan [Radcliffe] picks up is actually one of the blank ones – isn’t it? It was, because I watch it like, ‘Why did he choose that one?’! They had to have the thin, lighter ones to send through the air compressors’

Of course, there’s a version of this at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. We even caught a demonstration at A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018:

Mira shared another adorable secret about the letters – she crafted special versions for the owls on set to make it easier on them when flying! ‘I even made smaller ones for the owls to carry because they couldn’t pick the big ones up!’

She tells us ‘all the instructions I needed were in the book, it was one of the only props we had very clear instructions on’, meaning she crafted the letter exactly how J.K. Rowling wanted to see it, and how fans would have expected to read it – no detail is left out in these carefully created replicas. Even down to the red Hogwarts seal!

The letter is available at House of MinaLima in print form, as a magnet, a card holder – even a tea towel! Eduardo says that Mira actually designed all the letters Harry received from Hogwarts throughout the series, as well as the letter Dumbledore wrote to the Dursleys when leaving him on their doorstep, which is one of the very first shots in the first movie. What we wouldn’t give to see their archives!

Explaining the choice of making the letter available for fans to order as a complete replica, Eduardo says:  ‘We wanted to make something bespoke that you could display, that was something fans could enjoy.’

MinaLima_Prop Replica HP Hogwarts Acceptance Letter_Mira

 

Mira was in charge of this prop, and when a fan orders one of these bespoke replicas, it’s Mira who picks up the quill and crafts their order – Eduardo jokes that if Mira was suddenly Out of Action this would be over – he’d have to pick up the mantle! But that’s testament to just how special these letters are – try as you might, nobody will never master McGonnagall’s handwriting quite like Mira!

Personalising the Hogwarts Letter opens up the opportunity for all sorts of fun – we saw a letter addressed to a customer with a ‘museum under the stairs’, and addresses that reach across the globe. We wanted to know if anybody had ordered a different character’s Hogwarts acceptance letter – Hermione’s, perhaps, or Ron’s? Mira and Eduardo said they had actually received an order for Sirius Black’s acceptance letter!

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It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to own a treasured memory from the films. Order your exact prop replica of the iconic Hogwarts Acceptance Letter at minalima.com, or a personalised version of the letter here.

Thanks to the MinaLima team for their take on the story of the Hogwarts letter, and for giving us a look at this beautiful new replica!



A First Look at Gringotts with James & Oliver Phelps & Warwick Davis!

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Gringotts Wizarding Bank opens at Warner Bros Studio Tour London on April 6th, and none other than the Weasley twins, James and Oliver Phelps, and Filius Flitwick / Griphook the goblin himself, Warwick Davis, gave us our first look at the set – and it doesn’t disappoint!

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Pottermore were there for the first look at the set, and interviewed Warwick Davis, as well as creature effects artist Sarita Allison, who discussed the scope of creating goblins with special effects make-up, and shared that her work on the goblins seen in the Potter films wouldn’t have been possible without the immense patience of the actors:

‘We get a lot of praise for our amazing goblin work but we couldn’t do it without actors like Warwick – it’s very precise work and they do sit there for hours.’

Davis also discussed his first experience on set with Daniel Radcliffe – it takes so long to be transformed into a goblin that he was ‘wiped out’ by the time it came to shooting the scene!:

“I remember for the first film when I was wearing this make-up, getting up at 4am, have the make-up applied, be ready for 8, we’d then do some filming, usually with Daniel [Radcliffe] who was a very young boy at that point, but then because they needed to film him and get him into school and things… they’d turn around and do my shots right at the end of the day. Now, by then I was wiped out, I couldn’t remember my lines, I didn’t know what was going on at that point!”

They assure that some top secrets will be revealed in the 16,500 square foot Gringotts set, which uses 210,000 coins, 38,000 pieces of rubberised treasure for the Lestrange vault and 7,014 Hufflepuff Cups!

Sky also interviewed Davis, who discussed his love of the Potter movies:

“I feel I’m very lucky to have managed to be part of these two huge film series. Not a day goes by where I don’t talk about them some way or another.” 

There are downsides to being transformed into a goblin, though – Warwick said that nobody spoke to him whilst he was in costume!

“When I’m filming, I don’t go around the whole day as Griphook, I’m Warwick in between scenes.

“But it’s funny, when you’re in make-up like this, people don’t talk to you. You’re a bit isolated on set.

“The studio will be full of cast and crew, but I’ll be sat down on my chair and no one will talk to me because I look miserable, even though I’m not inside.”

Read more here.

Alongside the opening of Gringotts, Warner Bros Studio Tour will also reveal an all-new 17,000 sqft lobby and café on April 6th, seating up to 500 people to enjoy food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World! Entrance to Gringotts will be included in general admission – get your hands on tickets at the official Warner Bros Studio Tour website.



James Phelps, Oliver Phelps & Warwick Davis Give Exclusive Look of Gringotts Bank Expansion

James Phelps, Oliver Phelps & Warwick Davis Give Exclusive Look of Gringotts Bank Expansion


Jeff Spicer / Getty Images / Warner Bros Studio Tour London

In January 2019, Warner Bros Studios Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter announced the home of the famous film sets will be expanding its doors with Gringotts Bank. Harry Potter film series actors Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook) with James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) made a special appearance in front of the press to offer a first look at the new expansion.

The actors showed a preview to the amazing intricate detail that went into the tour’s latest addition. Davis and the Phelps brothers joined Gringotts’ Goblins in the bank’s entranceway and dived deep into the caverns of Gringotts to Lestrange’s vault.

Jeff Spicer / Getty Images / Warner Bros Studio Tour London

Jeff Spicer / Getty Images / Warner Bros Studio Tour London

Jeff Spicer / Getty Images / Warner Bros Studio Tour London

From Harry Potter first discovering Diagon Alley to the famous trio escaping on a Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in their quest for a Horcrux, Gringotts Wizarding Bank played an important role in the Harry Potter film series. On 6th April, we will unveil a permanent addition allowing visitors to walk through the wizarding bank of Gringotts, the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins and so much more.

Lined by towering marble pillars, the grand banking hall will be decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf. Inkwells, quills, ledgers and piles of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts will complete the goblin tellers’ desks as seen on screen. The Prop-making Department, led by Pierre Bohanna, created over 210,000 coins for the final two films alone.

Gringotts Wizarding Bank is famously run by goblins. Walking through the imposing marble columns, visitors will discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook and many other goblin bankers. Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. It took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook in the films which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look.

16px;”>Once through the banking hall of Gringotts, visitors will enter the depths of the Lestrange Vault used to store the treasures of Bellatrix Lestrange including the Sword of Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, one of Voldemort’s many Horcruxes. During filming 38,000 pieces of rubberised treasure were created for the Lestrange vault including 7,014 Hufflepuff Cups. Here, visitors can try out a unique photo opportunity allowing them to step inside the Lestrange vault and surround themselves with treasure.

The trio also posted on their own official social media accounts, and were featured on Pottermore and WBStudiosTourLondon Instagram stories and Twitter timelines.


A post shared by oliver_phelps (@oliver_phelps) on

To date, this is the biggest addition made to the tour with Gringotts Bank spanning 16,500 square feet, and was designed by many of the original crew members from the Harry Potter films including Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes, and Head Propmaker Pierre Bohanna. The Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will officially open on Saturday, April 6th. Make sure you have your wand and key ready for inspection!

Plan your magical visit and check out all the latest information at Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter official website.



Universal Hollywood to Host ‘Dark Arts At Hogwarts Castle Premiere Event!

Dark Arts Premiere Event - WWoHP at Universal Studios


 

Universal Studios Hollywood will host two exclusive after-hours premiere events next month, offering fans a first look at the upcoming Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle light projection show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, taking place April 11th and April 12th.

Fans will be greeted at Hogsmeade with a selection of shops (including Zonko’s, Olivander’s and Honeydukes!), as well as ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. Then, before anybody else, guests will be treated to a special showing of the all-new dark arts show, bringing together light, John Williams’s score and special effects and showcasing magical creatures and villains from the movie, including Lord Voldemort himself!

Dark Arts Premiere Event - WWoHP at Universal Studios

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hogwarts event without a feast, so Universal will treat guests to an array of foods, drinks and desserts as part of the premiere event. Even more excitingly, we’ll see a brand new limited edition wand debut at the event, giving fans the opportunity to take home a new keepsake from the park. All this comes with early entry to the park, as well as this after-hours event.

Tickets to the event are selling fast – book yours here. The official opening date for Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is April 13th, and the show will end on April 28th. Find out more at the Universal Studios Hollywood official website, and read more about Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – the new ride coming to Universal Orlando Resort – in our special event write-up!

 



Ralph Fiennes Says He’d Bring Voldemort Back

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Since J.K. Rowling revealed her plans to write the Fantastic Beasts screenplays and extended the series to five full-length feature films, fans began doing the math to see how the storyline might overlap with what is already known about wizarding history as told in the Harry Potter series.

In particular, fans have looked for recurring characters–some of whom we knew well and others who were only mentioned in passing. Happily, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald did just that, bringing the young Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald and Nicolas Flamel to the screen. Rowling also worked in myriad other connections between the past and present by incorporating ancient wizarding family names such as Lestrange, Travers, Rosier and Carrow, among others.

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Now, Ralph Fiennes has hinted that he would be willing to bring back another iconic figure–Voldemort. According to We Got This Covered, Fiennes, who portrayed Lord Voldemort in Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and parts one and two of Deathly Hallows, appeared recently on the BBC show Newsnight where, when asked about reprising the role, he replied:

“Well, there are variants, aren’t there? Fantastic Beasts and things.” 

He followed the stunning statement by going even further, saying:

“I feel a kind of affection for Voldemort. So if there was a world in which Voldemort came back, I would be very possessive about wanting to reprise that.”

The first question is whether a second resurrection, of sorts, would even be possible within the timeline Rowling has constructed–and, upon a close look at the known details, it is!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was set in 1926, the year of Tom Riddle’s birth. The second film was set in 1927. However, we know that the duel between Grindelwald and Dumbledore doesn’t take place until 1945. So, while the first two films are close together for the purposes of staging the story, this leaves a lot of ground for Rowling to cover in the three films remaining–but also a lot of time in which to do it.

Riddle enters Hogwarts in 1938 and graduates in the spring of 1945. This leaves ample room for overlap, should Rowling desire to weave more strings of the greater tapestry together in this way.

But how would it make sense story-wise?

It is possible that Grindelwald, being a seer, might have visions of the future which include the dark wizard to come. Those visions could even be linked to either the Elder wand or Nagini. Since Riddle will eventually take possession of the wand and, at some point, bring Nagini into his service, either by persuasion or force, and use dark magic to imbue her with a piece of his own soul, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Grindelwald would foresee glimpses related to those magical objects.

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As to whether or not it would make sense for Fiennes himself to fill the role–that would depend on both the story and the technology available to the filmmakers. If the visions reflected the Tom Riddle of the future, it would be almost seamless for Fiennes to step back into the part. If the visions–or even face-to-face interactions!–revolved around the teenage Riddle, Fiennes would have to undergo digital de-aging. Other films have used technological advancements in special effects to age actors before and, in the recent Captain Marvel, Samuel L. Jackson was de-aged to appear as a younger version of Nick Fury.

Almost nothing is impossible with a bit of magic and, we have to admit, the prospect of seeing the two iconic villains onscreen together is spell-binding. What remains to be seen is whether Rowling wants Voldemort to return again–or not.



Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Releases First Look at Gringotts Bank



Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has released a first look at their new Gringotts Bank exhibit. This new part of the studio tour will open on April 6th. Note: We will have more high-resolution images shortly, the server with the photo download has gone down so we cannot access them. All current photos may be seen in the gallery.

First sneak peek of the original Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the biggest expansion to date at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, open 6th April

First sneak peek of the original Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the biggest expansion to date at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, open 6th April

Warwick Davis commented: “It’s so exciting to be back inside Gringotts Wizarding Bank after so many years. I spent a lot of time here as Griphook and it’s great to see the Studio Tour bring the original set back to life. I know visitors will love discovering the details of the goblin prosthetics and the Lestrange vault for themselves and there are more exciting additions to be revealed.”

First sneak peek of the original Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the biggest expansion to date at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, open 6th April

The full press release may be read below:

Today Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has offered a sneak peek at its biggest expansion to date, Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
 
From the brass leaf details on the columns to polishing the Sword of Gryffindor, finishing touches are currently taking place to ensure that the wizard’s bank is ready for the official opening on 6th April. Entering this impressive set, visitors are invited to step into the grand banking hall, underneath the magnificent ‘crystal’ chandeliers to discover the secrets behind goblin prosthetics, costumes and so much more. From concept art and prop making to set design and prosthetics, visitors will unlock the filmmaking magic behind the famous wizard’s bank.
 
Lined by towering marble pillars, the grand banking hall will be decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf. Inkwells, quills, ledgers and piles of Galleons, Sickles and Knuts will complete the goblin tellers’ desks as seen on screen. The Prop-making Department, led by Pierre Bohanna, created over 210,000 coins for the final two films alone.
 
Gringotts Wizarding Bank is famously run by goblins. Walking through the imposing marble columns, visitors will discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook and many other goblin bankers. Each prosthetic mask took weeks to create, with every hair individually inserted and veins painstakingly painted by hand. It took four hours to transform actor Warwick Davis into Griphook in the films which included him wearing black contact lenses and dentures with extremely sharp teeth to complete the goblin look.  
 
Once through the banking hall of Gringotts, visitors will enter the depths of the Lestrange Vault used to store the treasures of Bellatrix Lestrange including the Sword of Gryffindor and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup, one of Voldemort’s many Horcruxes. During filming 38,000 pieces of rubberised treasure were created for the Lestrange vault including 7,014 Hufflepuff Cups. Here, visitors can try out a unique photo opportunity allowing them to step inside the Lestrange vault and surround themselves with treasure.  
 
Officially opening on Saturday 6th April, the 16,500sqft Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will be the Studio Tour’s biggest addition to date and has been designed and built by many of the original crew members who worked on the hugely successful magical film series including Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, Construction Manager Paul Hayes and Head Propmaker Pierre Bohanna.  
 
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter unveils its biggest expansion to date, the original Gringotts Wizarding Bank will be open to the public from Saturday 6th April

Filed Under: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter





Original ‘Cursed Child’ Cast Wraps Final Performance, But Memories and Magic Live On

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Three years ago a magical new production came to the West End, bringing the wizarding world to audiences in an entirely new medium with an entirely new story. Some of the characters were old friends–Harry, Hermione, Ron and Draco. Some of the characters were new–Albus, Scorpius and Rose, to name a few. And they took us back to the place where it all started, to Hogwarts. They took us home in a whirlwind of brilliant stage effects, sound, lighting and performance, which created a show unlike any ever seen in theater.

The original seven, as they are known, mesmerized critics and audiences alike, bringing J.K. Rowling’s magic to life day after day in a run that got extended month after month. Finally, after two years and a record-breaking showing at the Olivier Awards, the principal cast transferred to Broadway, taking over America’s famed Great White Way.

Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy), Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter), Alex Price (Draco Malfoy), Poppy Miller (Ginny Potter), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger-Weasley) and Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), along with an incredible supporting cast and crew, proceeded to dazzle U.S. audiences for a year.

Now their time in the world of magic has ended, making way for a new cast to carry on the story, and the days leading up to their final performance were both joy-filled and bittersweet! Jack Thorne, writer of the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was among the first to comment on the approaching changeover.

Boyle and Thorne then shared an exchange that set the Potterverse abuzz–how magical would it be if the two gents who originated Scorpius and Albus on stage returned in about ten years, properly aged and matured, to take on the role of their fathers?

When the day of the last performance arrived yesterday, the memories and well wishes began to pour out in a flood.

Noma Dumezweni, in particular, seemed overcome by her reminiscing, sharing throwback pictures with other castmembers and relishing in the journey they’d taken together.

 

Then it was time to take the stage, and everyone knew what a momentous and magical night they’d borne witness to.

 

 

And all too soon, it was over…the “magnificent seven” exited the stage door for the last time, greeting fans and induling the magic for just a little while longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Parker, in characteristic good humor, capped off the morning after with a quip.

Anthony Boyle, too, issued a tongue-in-cheek farewell with an ode to the white-blond shock of a wig that covered his natural dark brown hair.

It was a fitting, smile-inducing punctuation to a perfect run in which the curtain call produced both tears and applause…but he’s right, now the stage is set for a new cast, and the former must move on. 02_HPATCC_YearTwo_FullCast_Photo_By_Jeremy_Daniel And fans don’t have to wait long because the new cast takes the stage for their first performance on March 20. So raise your glasses to the old and the new. We wish the original members all the best in their future endeavors and cherish the memories made with them while still looking forward to all the magic left to experience!



Louise’s First Musings for Cormoran Strike 5


As has been pointed out multiple times by John Granger and others, the Cormoran Strike series seems to be following a pattern of parallels to the Harry Potter series, with Book 2 centered on the havoc wreaked by a mysterious autobiographical book, Book 3 on a notorious escaped criminal stalking the protagonist and Book 4 on patricide of a government minister, set against the backdrop of a major sporting event. For this reason, we should expect echoes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Cormoran Strike 5.

John has also pointed out the multiple ring structures in the Harry Potter series, with similar themes in books 1, 4, and 7; 2 and 6; and 3 and 5. The large number of parallels seen between Cuckoo’s Calling and Lethal White suggest the pattern is continuing with the Cormoran Strike series. Thus we should expect echoes from both Career of Evil and Order of the Phoenix in the next installment of Robin’s and Cormoran’s adventures.

With that in mind, I’m going to start a few preliminary muses about themes, ideas and storylines that might come up. Keep in mind this is pure, very early speculation. More after the jump.

Order of the Phoenix took a scathingly satirical look at a government more interested in making itself look good than in serving its citizens, and in collusion with a media more interested in selling papers than speaking the truth. It also roasted the government-controlled educational system, with Dolores Umbridge introduced as the most incompetent teacher and oppressive administrator ever seen.

So, one possibility is that Cormoran and Robin could find themselves in trouble with the law-– perhaps even charged with a crime, standing trial at the start of the book and having their butts saved by a savvy defense attorney (read: Ilsa). Arguing against this is the fact that the Dynamic Duo were actually on good terms with the police, for a change, with the Met having finally wised up and decided, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Geriant Winn would undoubtedly like to see Robin in court for bugging his office, but he will presumably not be in a position to do much about it, once his wife-the-minister divorces him, and Cormoran certainly has the dirt on him, between the charity fraud, the railroad station blowjobs and rumors of sexual improprieties in front of young girls.  Having solved the murder of a conservative minister, presumably there will not be many in Parliament eager to throw the book at the agency, nor many judges willing to lift the ban on Jimmy Knight and allow him to sue Strike for assault.

Could Cormoran and Robin be unfairly targeted or mercilessly hounded by the press? Almost certainly; this has been a recurrent theme in every book to date. So, while I think this will happen, I think it is unlikely to be the root of the central mystery in CS 5. Been there, done that.

So, I’m going for my third possibility as my official first prediction: the storyline will involve some sort of scandal, corruption or crime in an educational setting. According to Wikipedia, one major news story of February 2013–within the possible time for the next in the series–was the controversy over plans (ultimately abandoned) to replace the British General Certificate of Secondary Education with a more rigorous “English Baccalaureate.” The issues raised in this debate included questions of dumbing down the curriculum, to what extent the government should meddle in the school system and whether it was appropriate to eliminate students from certain career paths based on single exam scores at age 15. This sounds a lot like what Harry and friends faced in Year 5, with Professor Umbridge as the meddling government official, banning wands as too dangerous for use in DADA class. There is also the pressure of the OWLs, with Harry, the most skilled DADA student of his generation nearly having his career as an Auror derailed by scoring only “Exceeds Expectations” rather than “Outstanding” in Potions. It would indeed be exciting if the baccalaureate issue in some way formed a backdrop to the story. Or, perhaps I’m just a bit overconfident after my successful Olympics guess.

The major character echo in Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix was the Prisoner and Order member himself, Sirius Black. The most important event, and arguably one of the low points of the entire series—the depths of nigredo, as Alchemical Master Granger might say–was his death at the end of Order of the Phoenix, a death made more tragic because Harry, with some justification, blamed himself. Despite warnings, he let his “saving-people thing” trip him up, allowed Voldemort trick him into believing Sirius needed rescuing, and went off on a fool’s errand to the ministry.

If this theme repeats, it is bad news for at least one our heroes’ close allies, who is destined to bite the veil in the next volume. But who? Assuming it was someone who we first got to know well in Career of Evil, I have narrowed the field to two, depending on which of our protagonists makes the fatal error. If Strike, I believe the victim will be Shanker; if Robin, the victim will be officer Vanessa Ekwensi.

Shanker makes a pretty good Sirius-echo. He’s reckless, daring and has spent half his life in jail. He was mentioned in Book One as a source of information with which Strike can bargain, much as Sirius was mentioned as a mere motorbike-owner in Philosopher’s Stone. But he finally comes onstage in Career of Evil where Robin, like Harry, assumes at their first meeting he means her harm, but later comes to trust him fully. As for Strike, he is closer to Shanker than to most of his blood relatives, and depends on him for help and information. If Strike lets emotion override his common sense and takes off on an ill-fated rescue mission, Shanker is the natural choice to enlist to help. Sadly, I am visualizing tea leaves on the bottom Strike’s creosote-stained mug spelling out, “Die, Shanker, die!”

Of course, Robin could also be the one to put caution to the wind and drag Shanker off on a risky mission, just as she did in Career. Although, Shanker has promised Strike he wouldn’t let that happen again. The next logical choice to perish assisting the Titian-haired Temp would be her friend Vanessa Ekwensi. And if John is right about her name and race being a reference to the black Vanessa atalanta butterfly of Nabokov’s Pale Fire…  well, the “black” part certainly doesn’t bode well for her.

We should, over course, expect other characters introduced in Career of Evil to reappear in Book 5. Of the three main suspects, Laing and Brockbank are presumably in jail, leaving Whittaker as the likely candidate. Young Stephanie could well turn up dead, leading Strike and Robin on a personal mission to prove Whittaker killed her; Strike motivated by his hatred for ex-Stepdad Dearest and Robin by her guilt at not being able to help the young woman she befriended. Cormoran’s investigation could naturally lead him to learn more about Leda’s death and his own fragmented childhood, analogous to Harry’s search for the prophecy in Goblet of Fire. Perhaps we’ll get more hints about what Jonny Rokeby was doing behind the scenes and what really happened with the anachronistic DNA test, though I doubt the full story on that will be revealed until later in the series,

Onto some slightly less grisly topics:

Another possibility is that Whittaker’s son, Switch LaVey Bloom, will make an appearance–he would be 20, likely a university student and ready to meet his famous half-brother. Maybe it is his university where the education-related mystery unfolds? A final option would be Brittany Brockbank. I’ll admit that my speculation about these two is fueled partially by their mention (SLBW)  and appearance (BB) in the TV version of Career of Evil. 

Robin will likely have to worry more about her divorce from the Flobberworm than catching killers, as he is liable to fight her getting even a portion of their joint bank account, which contains the proceeds from their flat sale. Ilsa can probably recommend a good lawyer, and Strike presumably knows a little something about evidence that can be used against straying, spying and emotionally abusive spouses. She may need their encouragement to properly advocate for herself. Cormoran, for his part,  has the sale of his building to worry about. They may find themselves with more financial than legal problems, at least in the short-term.

Because of these complications, I think the budding attraction between Robin and Strike will cool off for now, as both will have reasons to make sure Matthew has no basis for his suspicions of Robin and Strike’s relationship. I noticed that there were few if any instances of Robin musing over her attraction to Strike after she left the Flobberworm, and had the breakdown on the verge. In fact, even as he is buying her champagne, they are speaking mostly as co-workers; he calls her, for the first time ever, “Ellacott” instead of Robin, and even their jokes–a sign they are re-gaining their own comfort levels– are in the context of their boss-employee relationship.  “Maybe you could put that on the next employee satisfaction review. ‘Not as bloody annoying as the woman who shagged my husband.’ I’ll have it framed.”

I actually think Robin might be the one to date someone new in the next book, once the divorce is settled, much as Order of the Phoenix began and ended Harry and Cho’s ill-fated romance. In the era of #metoo, I think JKR will be wary of having Cormoran and Robin become an official couple while he’s still her boss. Perhaps once they become agency co-owners, which could happen if Robin’s divorce settlement helps them avoid eviction from Denmark Street. But, in the meantime, I hope they can stabilize their genuine friendship and working relationship before the romance develops further. Cormoran also needs to work on becoming closer to Lucy and Jack: he’s been as emotionally distant from his sister’s family as he has from the women he’s slept with, but hopefully got a wake-up call on that front with Jack’s hospitalization. 

Besides, Cormoran will have enough on his hands with Charlotte, who will undoubtedly be making him miserable. Whether she will actively try to destroy him or attempt to lure him back into her clutches as a (genuine?) victim of domestic violence remains to be seen. Was she ever pregnant with Cormoran’s child? Was her quick marriage to Ross because she convinced him she was carrying the Potential Male Heir, and, when that didn’t pan out, was she pressured into fertility treatments to produce the Promised Son? The other wild card is Tom, who holds Matthew’s employment over his head, and who may have cottoned on to the affair before Robin let herself see it. He appears to be trying to warn her to be vigilant as early as the house-warming and his unexpected explosion at Matthew later suggests he was at least having strong suspicions. He could do enough damage to the Flobberworm to help Robin out.

Finally, if someone other than the Flobberworm sent the 50 roses whose card was never read, Book 5 is the logical time to find that out. 

Some other questions that need answers, though not necessarily in the next book:

  1. Who is Strike’s second godchild? We’ve been told he has two, yet only met little Timothy Cormoran. Who, besides someone whose life he had saved, would be foolish enough to name Strike, confirmed child-disliker and apparently not religious, godfather?
  2. What was Leda’s original surname and why was she so eager to change it and give a two-week husband’s to her son?  We’ve heard lots about Rokeby, the father whose name he doesn’t use; will we ever learn anything about the original Mr. Strike, whose name he uses? For that matter, are there any other maternal relatives besides Uncle Ted?
  3. Will we ever learn more of the other Rokeby-spawn beyond Al? I am particularly curious about the illegitimate daughter, the ironically-named Prudence.
  4. What’s the full story of Dave Polworth and why was he, along with the army and the agency, among the things Charlotte wanted Cormoran to give up to prove her love for her? 
  5. Is there more to the story of the IED explosion, especially given the hint from the TV show of the child who could have shot Strike, but didn’t?

So, to sum up for those keeping a score, I predict:

  1. An education-related case to solve. 
    1. Possibly related to aborted English educational reforms of 2013.
  2. Shanker dies; Strike blames himself.
    1. Alternate prediction: Vanessa dies, Robin blames herself.
  3. Whittaker versus Strike, Round Two. With baby brother in the mix. 
    1. Alternate: Brittany Brockbank turns up; Strike gets a redo in helping her.
  4. Cooling of Strike-Robin romance for now.
    1. Possible new, short-term relationship for Robin.
  5. Matthew and Charlotte as major sources of trouble.
    1.  Conflict over joint bank account with flat proceeds as divorce settlement.
    2. Charlotte uses real or fabricated abuse issue to recapture “Bluey.”
    3. Rose mystery possibly solved.
  6. Financial issues related to sale of building.
    1. May connect to Robin’s divorce, if she is reluctant to fight for her legal share, but might do so if money needed to keep office. This could lead to her becoming the business co-owner.

Some final questions for our British readers to help us Yanks suss this out:

  1. Were the proposed education reforms of 2013 a big enough news story to be written into Book 5? How newsworthy, compared to say, the Royal Wedding or the Olympics?
  2. How long does a typical divorce take in the U.K.? Would documenting Matthew’s misbehavior: the infidelity, the cell phone tampering, the attempted assault–she’s got the ripped green dress as evidence–get Robin a higher financial settlement?
  3. Are British detective agencies licensed? I noticed Strike worries about trouble with the police and the press, but never about losing his professional license. A licensing board would seem to be the logical body to discipline P.I’s for illegal bugs. Most states in the US require licenses to work as a P.I. 

Weekly Round-Up: Dame Maggie Smith Discusses Downton Abbey, Rupert Grint & Others Head to Cons & More!

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It’s been an action-packed week in the Potterverse, as we got a first-look at the upcoming mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as well as the new Universal Orlando Resort ride coming this Summer, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, with the special guest appearances of Robbie Coltrane and Alan Gilmore at a launch event in London! The cover of Jim Kay’s illustrated edition of Goblet of Fire was revealed, and PotterCast released a brand new episode. We also learnt that Fantastic Beasts star Ezra Miller was going to be taking a leaf from J.K. Rowling’s multi-talented book, and rewriting the script of The Flash standalone movie!

In this week’s round-up, we cover interviews with Dame Maggie Smith and Bonnie Wright, upcoming convention appearances from Rupert Grint, Warwick Davis, David Bradley and Tom Felton, a reunion at the Pride of Birmingham awards and brand new projects for Christian Coulson, the Gleesons, and Ellie Darcy-Alden.

Maggie Smith Talks Downton Abbey and Taking Selfies

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Continuing her starring role as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey, which will return this September 13th as a feature film, Dame Maggie Smith is also currently starring as Brunhilde Pomsel in London.

In a rare interview speaking to The Sunday Post, Smith says she’s “delighted” at the success of Downton, and that the film doesn’t move too far forward in time from the series!

“If it had been too further forward, the Countess would have been well over a hundred or in her box […] I did wonder if I might have a small part as the body but the film only moves forward a little so all is well.”

She says that the set of Downton has been excellent, with a lot of laughs had by her and fellow actress Penelope Wilton. She’s pleased to have been a part of the show, but said that fame and ‘selfies’ are one of the more difficult parts of the show’s success:

“The audiences were huge in different parts of the world and as a result, you find yourself getting recognised much, much more. I often have people coming up to me for a photograph. Everyone has cameras these days on their phones and they want selfies. Selfies?

“It can be difficult to handle. I don’t want to be rude but I do sometimes want to be able to walk down the street without having to stop for a photo. I don’t refuse children, of course, and I know I should be flattered by the attention but it can be very invasive.”

Speaking on her experience of the stage, Smith says she prefers the reliability of theater compared to film:

“I prefer stage work because no two performances are exactly the same and you know where you stand. You know what time you have to turn up at the theatre, what you will do when you are there and roughly when you will go home.If something goes wrong, you can look forward to putting it right in the next performance.”

Read the full interview for her delightful discussions of making her professional acting debut on Broadway in 1956, her thoughts on the acting world now, and her desire to continuing to play “old biddies” (as she puts it!) rather than retire!

Rupert Grint to Appear at Wales Comic Con

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Rupert Grint has taken a hiatus from comic con experiences while working on a string of TV projects the past few years but he’ll be back to greet his adoring fans at two upcoming events. He’s a special guest this weekend at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington and he’s also set to appear at the upcoming Wales Comic Con Saturday, April 27. If you’re wanting to add an autograph or photo op with Ron Weasley himself to your Harry Potter collection be sure to make a stop at Gringotts on the way. According to LeaderLive a picture with Grint is priced at £133.75. Be sure to post it on our social media if you do-we’d love to see it!

Tom Felton, David Bradley & Warwick Davis to Appear at FanX 2019 at Salt Lake Comic Con

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Several Potter actors will appear at this year’s Fan X at Salt Lake Comic Con between April 19-20. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), David Bradley (Argus Filch) & Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick / Griphook) will feature at this year’s event, taking part in autograph sessions, photo opps and panels throughout the weekend. Combined photo ops with all three actors will also be available – it’s a Hogwarts reunion! Find out more here.

An Interview with Bonnie Wright on Potter, Upcoming Projects and her Passion for the Environment

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Bonnie Wright sat down with Varsity, the University of Cambridge newspaper presumably while she was is UK for some recent work she did with Greenpeace, creating awareness about river micro plastic pollution. Wright, who’s known to Potter fans as the youngest Weasley and eventual wife of the Chosen One, has taken her film talents behind the camera since her days as a wizard, as well as become prominent voice for environmental activism. Varsity began their discussion asking about Wright’s decision to become a director,

“The reason why I love the film industry as a medium is because it’s incredibly collaborative. I definitely work best when collaborating with other people.” “I think as a director you have to have a quite lateral way of thinking. You have to sort of think about all the different departments. It’s almost like you’re conducting an orchestra.”

They also asked Wright, who admits she had much in common with her character, whether any of the four Harry Potter directors she worked with inspired her behind the camera,

“Before I went to film school a lot of the techniques I learnt, and just really understanding the methods of storytelling and the craftsmanship behind storytelling, was definitely from my experience in Harry Potter. [It] made me very much respect the meticulous detail that go into all elements of filmmaking.”

“I think it definitely set a bar for me in terms of the amount of detail that I wanted in the films that I then went on to make.”

As a fellow producer of art, Wright must have an additional respect for the author who created the world she grew up in. She said this about the longevity of Potter,

“I think the beauty of Harry Potter is it exists in a parallel magical world. I think it can transcend time in the sense that it isn’t of a certain time: it’s not outdated.”

“I think J.K. Rowling’s mind is so richly layered, the world that she created at Hogwarts and the whole magical world just had so many avenues. It’s so steeped in her interest in astrology, mythology and herbology. I think that really has made it last. It’s not just another story with one layer, there’s just so much depth to the world.”

As the interview concluded, Wright shared a little bit about an upcoming project,

“I’m actually working on what will be my first feature film. I’m hoping hopefully shooting at the end of this year[…]“the first film of mine that will bring in my interest in the environment. So, it’s kind of pulling it together, which is cool – to be able to sort of bring that experience in and to use narrative storytelling to tell that story. Often it is led through a documentary, but it’s nice to be able to tell it through an actual fictional story.”

Bonnie Wright’s full interview can be found on Varsity

Jason Isaacs Talks Season 2 of The OA

Jason Isaacs, one of Harry Potter’s most recognizable Death Eaters, Lucius Malfoy, stars as another villainous character Dr. Hunter Hap, who in season one performed some near death experiments on four people held captive in his basement, in NetFlix sci-fi hit The O.A. Recently Isaacs made an appearance on ITV This Morning to talk about the series and the upcoming release of its sophomore season.

In the interview below Isaacs describes the unusual way he got the part,

‘I got a phone call in the middle of the night saying, “We’re sending you eight scripts read them now”, and I went, “I’m just going to bed”, and they went, “Well you’re Skyping the director at two in the morning”.

‘I went, “I really don’t want to, can I do this tomorrow?”, and they went, “No because if you like it and he likes you, you have to get on a plane at breakfast”.

‘And I read these eight things and my head was spinning, I’d never read anything like them. ‘I Skyped the guy, by the time my kids came down for breakfast I was packed. ‘I got off the plane and I went straight to Grand Central station and shot my first scene.’

He also mentions that when season one of the show arrived in December of 2016 it became one of the most binged shows on the streaming network.

Take a look at a clip of interview below. Season 2 of The OA with Jason Isaacs can be seen on Netflix March 22 and Jason Isaacs can be found in person along with Rupert Grint at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend, March 15-17 in Seattle Washington.

David Bradley and James and Oliver Phelps Reunite for Awards Ceremony

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Any reunion between Argus Filch and the Weasley twins is something we’ve got to see! Veteran actor David Bradley who played Hogwarts caretaker and two of his on-screen nemeses James and Oliver Phelps, Fred and George Weasley, will take the stage together at the upcoming Pride of Birmingham Awards. The annual ceremony, which part of the Pride of Britain Awards, honors British people who have acted courageously or made a significant positive impact on their community. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and winners are chosen by a panel of celebrities and well-known individuals from various backgrounds,

We love what the Phelpses had this to say about reuniting with their fellow Potter alum,

“We’ll be on our best behaviour,” says James. “Whatever our best behaviour is,” adds Oliver.

Presentation of awards are scheduled for March 26 at the University of Birmingham.

Christian Coulson in a New TV Series

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Fans will recognize Christian Coulson as the first incarnation of Tom Riddle from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Coulson, who’s just coming off the premiere of the upcoming comedy Bite Me, has been cast in a pilot for ABC called Until the Wedding.

According to Deadline the series follows,

“the story of how one couple’s decision to get married can affect everyone in their lives. The show will explore the intimate relationships of a group of friends/family as Adrienne (Olivia Thirlby) and Danny (E.J. Bonilla) are forced to reckon with their own romantic lives and come to terms with the realities of love and marriage. Coulson will play James, Will’s (Michael Stahl-David) sexy international friend and an investor in Nick’s (Trent Garrett) restaurant and Will’s plus-one at the wedding.”

Congratulations to Christian Coulson on his new role!

Brendan Gleeson’s Directorial Debut is a Family Affair

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Brendan Gleeson, who Potter fans know as beloved Auror Alastor Mad-Eye Moody, makes his directorial debut with the upcoming short film Psychic about a larger than life mystic who is talked out of retirement by his sons. Gleeson plays the psychic and his real life sons co-star alongside him, including Domhnall Gleeson, Harry Potter’s Bill Weasley.

According to Independent ie the elder Gleeson had this to say last year, at the screening of the film, about working with his real life family,

“It was difficult enough because everybody’s pretty fiercely professional in their own way and it was crossing into family lines and talking about family,”

Psychic airs on Sky Arts Sunday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.

Ellie Darcey-Alden Cast in Upcoming Thriller

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Ellie Darcey-Alden, 2018 Leakycon special guest who’s known in the Potterverse as young Lily Evans in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has joined the cast of the upcoming series How to Identify a Serial Killer.

Einnews describes the project this way,

“a thriller series about a paranoid teenager Alice, who struggles to distinguish the difference between reality and her imagination in a world full of serial killers and murderers, particularly while living with her best friend Harriett, Alice’s smart, sensible flatmate and protector. While not close at school because of Harriet’s other friends thought Alice to be too much of an outsider, the two become friends as neighbours when they are forced to share the same secret.”

Darcey-Alden, who plays Harriett, had this to say about working with her co-star Karlisha Hurley,

“Karlisha is a one-of-a-kind actress who will bring great truth to the role of Alice.”

Congratulations to Ellie Darcey-Alden! No word yet on when and where to watch but we’ll keep you posted!

That’s all from the Wizarding World actors for this week. For all the Harry Potter news from the stage don’t miss our latest Theater Round-up and we’ll meet you back here next time!



‘Fantastic Beasts’ Star Ezra Miller to Take on ‘The Flash’ Standalone Script!

'Fantastic Beasts' Star Ezra Miller to Take on 'The Flash' Standalone Script!


Ezra Miller has been pretty enthusiastic about The Flash standalone movie since starring as the Scarlet Speedster in Justice League. He’s taken a leaf from J.K. Rowling’s book, and will team up with comic author Grant Morrison, to write a draft script for the movie, alongside continuing his starring role as Credence in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and touring with his band, Sons of an Illustrious Father.

The film has seen delays in development so far, with John Francis Faley and Jonathan Goldstein (Spider-Man: Homecoming) leading the project and hoping for a lighter take, Miller is now looking for a ‘darker take’ on the movie in his new deal with Warner Bros, according to Hollywood Reporter, it looks like the movie’s future could have a different future than expected! Miller was due to star in the movie, and his increased investment could see the success of the film skyrocket, or his investment in the movie diminish should his script be rejected. However, given his incredible dedication to serving fans well and knowing his material inside and out (as we know from our talks with him about Potter and Fantastic Beasts!), the movie appears to be in good hands. However, according to THR, there’s a ticking clock on the project as Ezra’s contract expires in May.

Previously, Warner Bros hired Joby Harold to rewrite the script in 2017 (the script was rumoured to have been approved, but that now looks uncertain), and Miller discussed his meeting with Daley and Goldstein at Wizard World Philadelphia last year, and during press for Crimes of Grindelwald, Miller assured that the film would see the light of day. We reported on production delays for the movie back in October, with the film’s release date being pushed back until 2021, but with this new development it appears fans eager to see Barry Allen brought to life once again by Ezra Miller may have to wait just a little while longer. No doubt it’ll be absolutely worth it – we certainly believe in the power of a dedicated fan like Ezra!