What Does It Really Tell Us?

What Does It Really Tell Us?


Whenever I give a talk to a larger group about the ring composition structure of Rowling’s various works, inevitably someone asks about the piece of notebook paper Rowling has made public, a one-sheet snapshot of her chapter by chapter breakdown of what happens when in the various plot threads in Order of the Phoenix. If you haven’t seen it, it looks like this:

That’s pretty hard to read, right? Fortunately the mavens at The Harry Potter Lexicon have created a transcription that is crystal clear legible on a page devoted to this outlineThey include the helpful information that the picture of this piece of paper was posted at Rowling’s original website with the explanatory note, ““Part of the umpteenth revision of the plan of ‘Order of the Phoenix’… Some of the Chapter Names changed and there are a few ideas that didn’t make the final draft.”

C. S. Plocher of The FriendlyEditor.com and WriteLikeRowling.com has taken this transcription-to-legibility process one step further. Check out her fascinating ‘How Rowling Revised and Edited Order of the Phoenix post in which she not only shares her transcription of the page Rowling had put up but her color coded guide to what of this plan survived, what changed, and what never made it to Phoenix.

Wild, right? That is some invaluable grunt work and follow-through for which every serious reader of Harry Potter should be grateful. I certainly am.

But what does it tell us about Rowling as a ring writer? Three things (at least).

(1) It’s obviously true that she works from a plan. This is not the work of a ‘pantser’ that lets her characters tell their story as she writes.

(2) There are no chapter correspondences noted on the page, i.e., it is not a confirmation of Rowling as ring writer. The chapters included on this one sheet, 16 to 29, include the story center (19), and the parallel chapters fore and aft (16-17 with 22-23, 18 and 21, and 19 to 20; see Harry Potter as Ring Composition and Ring Cyclepp 79-82, 142-143), so, if this was Rowling’s principal concern as a writer, you’d expect there to be some lines or notes making these connections.

(3) That being said, I think the chiastic phrase “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” is appropriate here. There are no notes about the alchemical structure of the work here, of the Christian content, or of literary allusion and her intratextuality, that is, references to correspondences with Philosopher’s Stone and with Prisoner of Azkaban. But all those things are embedded and make up the less-visible structure and scaffolding both of the book itself and the series of which it is a part.

My conclusion? It’s a fun chart and Rowling historians in future years, especially if they gain access to more of her drafts and outlines, will no doubt make a lot of it, even more than C. S. Plocher has. But the plot outline and sequencing, a kind of check-list preliminary for the story to make sure everything proceeds without a major glitch (as happened in the writing of Goblet) tells us very little about the writer’s formalist and iconological artistry which are under-the-hood, beneath the story-line.

That is Rowling’s greater achievement and to suggest that her tweeking and editing this graph paper is what makes her great is, I think, no little error, however important editing and time-line organization certainly are.

Your thoughts?

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10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies

10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies


10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies

Throughout the Harry Potter films, characters cast spells to protect themselves, create light in their dark world, and practice magic at Hogwarts. But how many spells are used in the film franchise and which ones are the most popular. This is a question that fellow Harry Potter fan and blogger Milan researched as a special guest post for PotterTalk.net. Think you know which spells were used the most in the Harry Potter films? The results might surprise you! So take it away Milan:

Expelliarmus is one of the most memorable spells that Harry uses in the series. He gained freedom from Voldemort while using it in the Battle of
Hogwarts. But he was advised to change his approach because he could not be
expected to win by simply disarming Death Eaters. Although
many would say that it is one of the most commonly used spells in the movies,
my research does not support that claim. Expelliarmus is actually near the end
of my list. But which ones are above then? Some of them surely come to your
mind. And I believe you will be surprised. But before
we start, I would like to tell you more about research itself.

I watched
all the movies once more (probably for the hundredth time) and took a note of
every spell that was used. There’s a lot of them! Especially as the serial
moves on. It is interesting to note that Harry did not use a single spell in the first film Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer’s Stone
unlike the rest of the films where numerous spells are used.

Most of the
spells used were noted, though there were a few issues with doing that.

Firstly,
there are non-verbal charms and spells, many of which I managed to note, taking
into account colour of the charm, context, reactions to it and the same events
as they were described in the books. Of course, some of them I could not get a
hold of, especially in great battles, and I did not want to make guesses. Unfortunately, as long as none of the people who made the movie or J.K. Rowling herself says
exactly which spells were used, our list cannot be complete.

The second
problem was keeping track of the spells. In moments when many different people use the
spell, it is almost impossible to count all of them. In spite of that, many of
them were counted anyway. All in all,
I managed to note down roughly about 95% of the spells. The battles were the
most problematic. You can see the list and the explanation in the infographic below as well as in the rest of the text.

Shield Penetration Spell

It was used about 617 times in those few scenes where Voldemort with his army try to attack Hogwarts. A great number of Death Eaters disintegrated the shield which was made to defend the castle. Considering how many of them were there, it is more than clear why this spell takes the first place. Incantation is unknown. The action lasts up to the moment when Hermione destroys Voldemort’s Hufflepuff cup horcrux.

Dark Mark counter-curse

You probably don’t know about this curse. It was used in one scene only. A little clue might help you figure it out: Dumbledore’s death in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. As Harry mourns over his mentor’s death, you can see about 467 shining wands from students and teachers on the castle grounds. We can’t exactly call this spell ‘lumos’ – a similar spell wizards use to illuminate a dark place within their area – because the light these students use casts high into the sky to try to eliminate Voldemort’s dark death eater mark in the clouds. The specific incantation used in this scene is unknown. Since it meets all the requirements to be considered a spell and a lot of students use it at the same time, it deserves a second place on my list.

Wingardium Leviosa

One of the most popular spells. We all love the argument between Ron and Hermione from the first movie. It was used 229 times over the course of eight movies. One scene is considered very important and should be ranked highly. That is the one where Harry tries to break into Dolores Umbridge’s office in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, where we see the Ministry employees transporting and shifting fascist booklets. Considering the number of employees and the speed at which they are doing it, Wingardium Leviosa takes the third place.

Stupefy

Great spell to use against antagonists. Harry, in particular, casts the spell throughout the series to disable his enemies and inflicts pain on them. This spell was mostly used in battles. Due to the fact that it was most commonly used non-verbally and that we recognize it primarily for its blue colour, the number of uses (217) should not be taken as a sure fact.

Protego | Protego Maxima | Fianto Duri | Repello Inimicum

These spells are considered together, since, essentially, they are the same. The scene where they are used the most is the one where the shield around the castle is being formed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Of course, it was used in battles on a regular basis such as when Snape turns away Professor McGonagall’s attack with the first form of this spell Protego. The entire spell sequence is used 147 times if all the movies are taken into account.

Avada Kedavra

The darkest spell in the world of magic is used around 114 times. As with the others, great battles gave me the most trouble, so I used the colour green as the main factor in recognizing it. It would be great if it weren’t used at all. However, it brought sorrow and pain way too many times as many beloved characters like Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were killed with this spell.

Lumos/Lumos Maxima

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. One of the common and standard spells, Lumos was used 38 times. It was especially useful at the beginning of the third movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry tries to read but Uncle Vernon won’t leave him alone. The scene left us questioning: how is it even possible to use magic outside of Hogwarts even just for practicing homework?

Expelliarmus

We got to Harry’s favourite one! It is only 8th on the list, used 36 times. Even so, it turned out to be the most powerful since it brought victory against Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Expecto Patronum

It is definitely one of the most complicated ones, especially among the students. However, it does not seem to be that hard to learn it if you have a great teacher like Harry showing Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was used 17 times altogether in the movies.

Fire creating spell

Used 14 times, only by Professor McGonagall against Snape while trying to defend Harry in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. At this point, they had no knowledge about his sacrifice and agreement with Dumbledore in trying to protect The Chosen One. Incantation is unknown.

Both Milan and I hope you enjoyed this infographic about the most commonly used spells throughout the Harry Potter films. Be sure to follow Milan’s Harry Potter blog Potteric for more interesting posts about Harry Potter’s world.

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Bloomsbury Announces Deluxe Edition of Illustrated ‘Goblet of Fire’!

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Bloomsbury announced that a deluxe edition of Jim Kay’s long-awaited illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be released alongside the standard illustrated edition, and both are available for pre-order now! Both editions will also be available in stores Oct. 8.

The special deluxe edition hardback will feature a gorgeous green cloth cover with foiled slipcase, as well as gilt edging. Kay’s sketch of Hogwarts graces the front cover while the Hungarian Horntail holds a prominent place on the slipcover. Fans pre-ordering through the Bloomsbury website will receive an exclusive tote along with their copy of the Goblet of Fire.

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Deluxe edition orders come with a sleek black tote featuring the Hungarian Horntail. Standard edition pre-orders also come with an exclusive tote, which features a color illustration from the book of Harry facing off with the fearsome dragon.

The exclusive offer is available for residents of the UK, ROI, AU and NZ only. Visit Bloomsbury here to place your order! And for fans interested in the standard version rather than the deluxe edition, take a look at the magical color cover art below. 

Note as well the sneak peek of numerous interior pages, included in both editions, which was previously covered by Leaky and originally released by Pottermore. As always, Kay’s art is visually stunning, bringing Rowling’s vivid descriptions of the wizarding world to life. Either copy would be a coveted addition to the collection of any fan! 

What do you think, Potterheads, which edition are you clearing a shelf for? 



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‘Lethal White’ Wins CrimeFest Award


J. K. Rowling’s four Cormoran Strike novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, have pretty much appeared under the radar at least relative to Potter Mania. They don’t win prizes, they don’t set records for copies sold per minute at each successive book release, and there have been no fan conventions or academic conferences dedicated to them. It is still a commonplace when speaking with Potter-philes, even Potter Pundits, to discover the person you are speaking with has not read the Strike novels even though the books are written by their “favorite author.”

I shouldn’t say they don’t win prizes, though, because three of the four books — and the first before Galbraith was outed as Rowling — have won awards for the audio-book versions as read by Robert Glenister. I’ve written about that before (see ‘Lethal White: The Robert Glenister Audiobook’) and my family’s enjoyment of these versions, exceeding I think our delight even in the Potter audiobooks, as good as those were.

I write about this today because CrimeFest, the annual gathering of crime fiction writers and readers in the UK, has awarded the Audible Sounds of Crime Award to Lethal White for best audiobook against competition including the venerable Ian Rankin (no small influence on the Strike books: Strike can be read as another John Rebus, a damaged veteran with relationship issues in Rankin’s novels, set free in London rather than Edinburgh), the preposterously popular Stephen King, and William Patterson writing with side-kick Bill Clinton. Glenister and Rowling have won the award for every Galbraith novel except Career of Evil, certainly the most, shall we say, challenging Strike book thus far.

If you haven’t downloaded or purchased the CD version of Glenister’s readings, I’ll go so far as to suggest you really haven’t enjoyed and appreciated Cormoran and Robin’s adventures as you might. It is a surprising, I confess, and delightful thing to see the experts and award-givers agree with me here.

Let me know what you think of the Glenister readings in the comment boxes below!

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Playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ at Hogwarts


I receive email from a variety of Potter fan groups, one of which is the Harry Potter Society at Oxford University. Their facebook posting for ‘Casual Game Night’ this week featured the picture above from a Slytherin student gathering during Tom Riddle, Jr.’s years at Hogwarts. The captions show the thoughts of five young men playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ with the Dark Lord in Training.

If, like me, you live under a rock and have never played ‘Never Have I Ever’ with fingers or drinks, you can read the rules here. [You’ll learn there that, no, you cannot say in the game, “Never Have I Ever played ‘Never Have I Ever.” It’s a revealing self-contradiction.] It seems from the little I’ve read about the game that it’s often used as an icebreaker at social events but one with obvious dangers of becoming a Purity Test if ‘Dirty Questions‘ are allowed.

The question asked at this Hogsmeade soiree of boy Slytherins is, “Never have I ever killed someone for the purpose of prolonging my life using dark magic.” I think it is the young Riddle who thinks, “Some of these are feeling very pointed.” Rule #1 of the game supposedly is that players have to be honest but one of the players thinks to himself, “Just drink or else they’ll all know how little you’ve done,” so part of the game, forgive me, especially with this lot, is social posturing and positioning.

Forgive me for wondering, “What does Tom say? Why?” 

And, how about this for a test of canon knowledge? If Dumbledore’s Army played this game at their first meeting in the Room of Requirement, it would be pretty easy to isolate and eliminate Harry Potter in violation of Rule #3, “It is not allowed to pick out the players by making statements knowingly to be true about them.” What non-dirty questions could Harry ask, though, at that point in his education and experience, that would make the Army in training all take a drink?

Examples: “Never have I ever completed a year at Hogwarts without a fight to the death with a dark wizard” works, but “Never have I ever had a Potions class taught by a benevolent professor” (none of them have and in Phoenix Slughorn is two years away).

Your turn — and feel free to share your thoughts about whether young Tom owns up in front of his Slytherin drinking buddies to murdering folk!

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Close-Up Look at Universal Orlando’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

03_Hagrid


For any Potter fan, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the pièce de résistance of the Universal Studios theme parks — and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will likely be the highlight of them all!

Universal Orlando is the dream destination for those hoping to step inside J.K. Rowling’s world, allowing you to walk through Hogsmeade, cry at the gates of Hogwarts, feel the thrill of seeing Diagon Alley for the first time, and – of course – drink pumpkin juice in The Leaky Cauldron.

The new “storycoaster” – the first of its kind – will open at Universal Orlando Resort’s Hogsmeade on June 13th, and is set to be like no experience yet. Replacing the Triwizard Tournament themed coaster, The Dragon Challenge, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is the most ‘highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet’ at the parks, and we’re bringing some exclusive info on the experiences to come, with brand new photos!

As we know, the ride will see guests take off through the Forbidden Forest on one of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures lessons — but as with all of his lessons, nothing goes quite to plan! Guests will ride in Hagrid (well, Sirius’s) motorbike and sidecar in all-new groundbreaking coaster technology to immerse riders in the thrills of the ride, and ‘feel the freedom of flight’ as they head off through the grounds of Hogwarts and beyond, soaring over an actual forest featuring 1,200 trees. In Universal Orlando Resort’s own words:

“They’ll ascend above the trees, rapidly accelerate through mysterious ruins, speed forward – and backward, and so much more as they search for the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.”

We already know a few of the creatures set to feature on the ride: along with an animatronic Hagrid, riders will encounter Centaurs, Devil’s Snare, Fluffy the three-headed dog, Cornish Pixies and a never-before-seen Blast-Ended Skrewt!

Along the way, riders will zoom around the longest roller coaster in Florida, measuring 5,053 feet (almost a mile!) in length. The ride will feature numerous breathtaking experiences, including:

  • ?  The most launches of any roller coaster in the world – with 7 total launches
  • ?  Unexpectedly dropping nearly 17 feet on the first coaster in the U.S. to feature a free-fall vertical drop
  • ?  Being catapulted 65 feet in the air at a more than 70 degree angle – and then immediately dropping backward in one movement

Take a look at some of the incredible detail on the ride below:

 

03_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details04_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details

Grindylows and mermaids can be seen in this ruin — we wonder just how much of Hogwarts remains to be seen!

05_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details06_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Coaster Details

This must be where Hagrid keeps his forbidden stash of magical creature eggs:08_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details

A look at some of the ride mechanics:

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

Guests will encounter immersive experiences before the ride begins, too, getting to look through forgotten relics of Hogwarts – like this Manticore page in the Monster Book of Monsters!

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

Universal Orlando also gave us an idea of the story of the coaster, which will take us through some of the unseen ruins of Hogwarts before taking off around the Forbidden Forest. The ruins themselves were imagined by Universal’s award-winning Creative team in collaboration with the Harry Potter films’ Production Designer, Stuart Craig, and Art Director, Alan Gilmore, and are placed behind Hagrid’s hut, used by the lovable half-giant for groundskeeping purposes:

“As they make their way to their enchanted motorbikes, guests will see materials from the class, including dragon eggs on the verge of hatching and a makeshift nursery where Hagrid kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts – the creatures that are being brought to life for the first time ever for this epic new adventure. Guests will encounter beloved characters from the Harry Potter films including Arthur Weasley, Hagrid, and his loyal dog, Fang, through a pre-show experience brought to life with digital projection and special effects. During this interaction, guests learn about their impending trip to the Forbidden Forest as part of their lesson for the day.”

Doesn’t it sound thrilling?!

If that’s not enough, take a look at a POV video from Universal Orlando below:

The new ride opens June 13th — we can’t wait to take you with us to see the ride for the first time!

Thanks to Universal Orlando Resort for giving us a first-look at the ride, and for inviting us to preview the coaster! 

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Weekly Round-Up: Robert Pattinson Potentially Cast As Batman, Daniel Radcliffe Updates & More!

miracle-workers-daniel-radcliffe


Our Wizarding World was rocked this week when we heard news of Warner Bros. and Pottermore’s new joint venture, Wizarding World Digital. Leaky went straight to the source and got an exclusive statement on the transfigured Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts online platform just ahead of the unveiling of their new Wizarding Passports! We also saw some new Potter must-have products from Hallmark, Aldi and Funko and heard the latest on Fantastic Beasts and Floo Powder from PotterCast.

This week in our Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts actors round-up Daniel Radcliffe is coming back for season 2 of Miracle Workers, Robert Pattinson is possibly the next Batman, Fiona Shaw wins a BAFTA for Killing Eve, Emma Thompson may be joining Disney’s Cruella and more!

TV and Movie News for Daniel Radcliffe

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Earlier this year Daniel Radcliffe traded in his wand for a halo as low level angel Craig, working in Heaven’s Department of Answered Prayers in the TBS comedy Miracle Workers. The seven-episode series based on the book What in God’s Name by Simon Rich has been renewed for a second season and this is what Deadline has to say about round two,

The core four cast members return for Season 2 of Miracle Workers, which will be a medieval story about friendship, family and trying not to be murdered. It revolves around a group of villagers in the dark ages trying to stay positive in an age of inequality and fake news.

No word yet when Potter fans can see the Boy Who Lived on their small screen again but we’ll let you know.

After a couple of light hearted comedies with Miracle Workers and Playmobil: The Movie, Daniel Radcliffe will star in the upcoming drama Escape from Pretoria. The film, which is based on the true story of anti-apartheid activist Tim Jenkins’ 1979 attempt to break out of a maximum security prison in South Africa, Just ahead of a preview at the Cannes Film Festival the biopic has been purchased by Momentum Pictures for North American distribution rights.

 

The film also stars Ian Hart who Potter fans know as Professor Quirinus Quirrell. Hart plays another prison mate Denis Goldberg, who according to his book, A Life for Freedom, helped create the escape plan. We might have to see that part for ourselves to believe it. No release date has been announced for Escape from Pretoria yet but we’ll definitely keep you posted on this one!

Dan also responded to an invitation to Rick and Morty‘s writer’s room from creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland this week – looks like we could see him in an espiode some time soon!

Congratulations also to Radcliffe for winning the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Best Actor in a Play! See full coverage in our latest Theater Round-Up.

Robert Pattinson is DC’s New Batman?

The airwaves are full of conflicting reports this week about the casting of Robert Pattinson as the new Batman. Earlier this week Variety dropped the news below that the actor who Potter fans know as Triwizard Champion Cedric Diggory, had indeed been named to step into the iconic black suit, replacing producer Ben Affleck in the main role in the movie, due in 2021, after Affleck bowed out of the role in January. However, not long after this announcement, Deadline followed up with information that Pattinson was still on Warner Bros short list alongside Tolkien star Nicholas Hoult. Fans are all over the map with his potential casting.

We’ve seen the celebrations all over our social media and we’ve heard of petitions to the studio calling to replace our favorite Hufflepuff before the ink even dried. Who knows, by the time this is published it may be a completely different story. We’ll keep our extendable bat ears open and let you know!

  Fiona Shaw Wins BAFTA for Killing Eve

Potterheads loved Fiona Shaw as Harry’s wretched Aunt Petunia Dursley. So much that Shaw has said in recent interviews that children point and cry in her presence in public. Fans have loved her portrayal of MI-6 Russian Desk Head Carolyn Martens possibly even more so and now she has the critical acclaim for the role to match. Last weekend Shaw took home her first BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the hit BBC spy series Killing Eve.

Take a listen to her acceptance speech below and don’t miss the last two episodes of season two currently on Sundays at 8pm ET on BBC America.

Emma Thompson May Board Live Action Cruella

We’ve been saying that this is the year of Dame Emma Thompson. The actress who played Potter fans favorite seer Sybill Trelawney, is apparating to big and small screens alike this year with upcoming films, Late Night, Men in Black International and BBC drama Years and Years, as well as her hilarious hosting stint on Saturday Night Live last weekend. Now Variety is speculating that Thompson is in negotiations to join the latest live action Cruella, the story of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians villainess Cruella De Vil. Thompson will star opposite another Oscar winner, Emma Stone, in the title role. No word yet when in the skunk-striped baddie’s timeline the movie takes place or what role Thompson is in talks to play — but it is sure to be entertaining.

Cruella is scheduled to open in theaters December 23, 2020.

Below we also have a trailer for Thompson’s latest TV role as divisive celebrity-turned-politician in the BBC drama Years and Years. How many times do you think you’re going to hear us say this is Emma Thompson’s year?

Years and Years can be seen BBC One Tuesdays at 9pm in the UK. The six-part series premieres on HBO June 24 in the US.

The Aeronauts with Eddie Redmayne in IMAX

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Fantastic Beasts’ Eddie Redmayne stars in the upcoming the adventure biopic The Aeronauts which follows the true story of pilot Amelia Wren, played by his Theory of Everything co-star Felicity Jones, and scientist James Glaisher who in 1862 attempt to the secrets of the heavens via a hot air balloon.

In the process the two make history flying higher in an open balloon than anyone had to that point or has to date. A wide release date for the film of November 1 has been set by the projects’ studio Amazon as well as a one week run at select IMAX Theaters beginning October 25.

Mark your calendars Wizarding World fans, since it will be a few fall from now before we see him on screen again as Magizoologist Newt Scamander. Who knows, maybe he’ll find some magical creatures way up there!

Jude Law Tapped for Francis Ford Coppola Epic

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In a recent in depth interview with Deadlineprolific director Francis Ford Coppola discussed an epic he has been obsessed with making for decades.

The film, Megalopolis, about trying to create utopia in a city modeled after New York, looks like it has a good chance of being lead by Jude Law, Fantastic Beasts’s Albus Dumbledore.

The director had this to say to Deadline about Law’s casting,

As for Megalopolis… Well, it looks good. I mean, we made the offer now to several actors. I can’t say they’ve accepted, but they were very enthusiastic. One of them is Jude Law and another Shia LaBeouf.

Deadline also shared this about some original footage they saw from when Ford Coppola attempted the film prior to 9/11

He showed me about 20 minutes of stunning second unit footage shot nearly two decades ago, when he first tried to make the film. The scenes capture the sights and sounds of the New York streets, of perfect architectural structures and statues, and haunting imagery of the smoldering ruins of the 9/11 terror attack that brought progress on that film to a halt.

If Megalopolis is received in the manner most of Francis Ford Coppola’s films, this may mean some extreme screen magic for Jude Law. Stay tuned!

Graham Norton Welcomes David Tennant for Good Omens Premiere

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To herald in the anxiously awaited TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett’s 1990 fantasy novel Good Omens, Graham Norton welcomes its stars to his sofa the night of series premiere. David Tennant, Harry Potter’s Barty Crouch, Jr., plays the demon Crowley who teams up with the angel Aziraphale played by Michael Sheen, to prevent the Apocalypse, with the help of Potter alum Miranda Richardson, who played Rita Skeeter, as Madame Tracy, a psychic who helps the pair save the world from Armageddon.

The six-part series is set to premiere May 31 on Amazon Prime, the same night Tennant appears on The Graham Norton Show. Mark your calendars and set your DVRs for both!

Jessica Williams to Present at CFDA Awards

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Jessica Williams, who made a brief appearance in Crimes of Grindelwald as Fantastic Beasts Ilvermorny Professor Eulalie Hicks, will be a presenter at the 2019 Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards along with fellow Daily Show alum Hasan Minhaj. It’s yet to be seen if Williams will bring her comedic talents to the Wizarding World but more shall be revealed…

That’s all the actor’s news for this week. Check out our latest Theater Round-up and don’t forget to subscribe to our new YouTube channel!



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Speaking of Disappearances – Whatever Happened to Stephenie Meyer?


A good friend from the Twilight years here at HogwartsProfessor keeps me up to speed on the author of that series, Stephenie Meyer. This week he let me know that she is now posting updates on her website about projects she is excited about (check that out here if you are interested). Meyer is super-enthused about a Netflix television series, The Umbrella Family. She doesn’t share a single thing about the series, oddly enough, to move the reader to share that enthusiasm but the GIFs used in the blog post are impressive. Kind of?

A frequent guest at my Muggle job is a short older woman who is a huge Twilight fan. She catches me up on announcements about fan gatherings in Forks and the like when we meet. She has a brilliant smile and fun sense of humor especially about her love of sparkly vampire stories. I asked her earlier this year if she had read Meyer’s latest book, The Chemist. “You mean The Host?” “No, there’s a new one; a science and spy thriller.” “You’re kidding me.” She went out and bought a copy. Next time I saw her she still hadn’t finished it.

How unusual is that? Not very unusual, I’m afraid. One of the best-selling authors of the 21st Century publishes a book in late 2016 with a major house (500,000 copies printed…), just in time for Christmas, and uber fans of hers haven’t heard of it in 2019. Wikipedia, believe it or don’t, still doesn’t have a page dedicated to it. She announced in February 2018 that her movie studio, Fickle Fish Films, was starting production of a television series adaptation of the book. It seems that didn’t work out.

I read The Chemist as soon as I heard about it, which is to say, more than several months after it was published (my Twilight correspondent assumed I knew). It’s a fun read, though as I suspected, real-world chemists found it a real-hard struggle to get through. The reviewer at The Guardian thought the thriller a big improvement on Twilight, if largely because this book’s Bella is a beast of sorts; The New York Times review in November 2016, ‘Sorry, Twilight Fans, Stephenie Meyer’s Latest is a Twisted Spy Thriller,’ focused on Meyer’s conflict with Twi-hard fans that want nothing but a return to Edward and Jacob. And the author’s writing process and insecurities:

So why did Ms. Meyer decide to write a pulpy spy thriller, an ultramasculine genre that is notoriously tough to break into, particularly for female authors? “I get a little bored,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Arizona. “Stories kind of run out, and you want to do something very different. It’s like, after ice cream, you want pretzels.”

Ouch.

She rarely holds book signings, and no longer reads reviews or online comments about herself. “At first I read everything, and I learned that was not superhealthy,” she said.

You would think that selling 10s of millions of novels would calm her insecurities, but success has only heightened her self-doubt.

“I’ve always been hard on myself, and now that everyone is reading my stuff, half the people hate it,” she said. “It’s hard when you start doubting yourself, and a few million people are telling you that you’re right, and that you should doubt yourself even more.”

And?

A few years later, Ms. Meyer returned to the idea and decided to write it as a novel. She keeps vampire-like work hours — a residual habit from when she began writing “Twilight” while she and her husband were raising their three sons — and worked on “The Chemist” from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. The plot flowed quickly, but she struggled at times to devise unusual ways to kill, maim and torture people, so she consulted several experts in biochemistry and molecular biology, including Kirstin Hendrickson, a senior lecturer at the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University.

“I would send her stuff and say, ‘What if I wanted to kill someone this way?,’ and she would say, ‘You can’t do it that way, but you could do it this way,’” Ms. Meyer said. “If anyone looks at my web history, I’m going to jail.”

I don’t know where J. K. Rowling is or what she’s thinking or doing now that she is abstaining from twitter-dom. It’s been a refreshing silence, frankly, and we can only hope it has been and will continue to be a refreshing and rejuvenating respite for The Presence.

I’m equally clueless about Stephenie Meyer but at least as hopeful about her continuing to write wherever she may be. Let me know in the comment boxes if you’ve read The Chemist or anything by Meyer post Twilight. Big points for your House if you can share any 2019 celebrity spottings of her!

Do you love Harry Potter merchandise as much as us?

Great!

Check out the awesome Harry Potter collections below.

Harry Potter Wrapping Paper

Harry Potter Art & Wall Décor

New Harry Potter Merch From Aldi’s and Funko!

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Choices for the avid Harry Potter collector are at an all-time high with magical new merch coming soon from multiple outlets. Yesterday, Leaky reported on Hallmark’s expansion of its exclusive Harry Potter collectibles series, available in Hallmark Gold Stores and online now. The Harry Potter Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments line will also feature new Potter-themed holiday décor starting in July. Now, adding to the ever-increasing selection of products, Aldi’s announced its first ever Harry Potter collection, and Funko is set to release new merch as well.

The exciting benefit of shopping Aldi’s line-up, available in UK stores and online, is that products can be purchased at prices significantly below most purveyors of Harry Potter collectibles!

The Mirror reported that Aldi’s selection includes crafting options, such as the Harry Potter Make Your Own House Scarf kit and Harry Potter Crochet and Felt kits.

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Duvet covers and pillowcases are also available for fans intent on a magical home makeover. Who doesn’t want to fall asleep in a Hogwarts dorm room every night?!

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Other must-have merch includes lunch bags, water bottles, pencil case, mugs, notebooks, backpacks, pajamas and more! Check out the full selection, with UK prices, here.

And don’t forget, fans of Funko products can look forward to new additions coming soon!

Take your pick of fantastic new Pop! keychains inspired by your favorite characters from J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. Choose from Hermione, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fawkes and Hedwig. (Or don’t choose and get more than one!)

Also look for magical Pop! pen toppers taking after Hermione, Harry, Ron and Dumbledore–and dressed for the Yule Ball in full Goblet of Fire attire! Other new figures include Pop! Fleur Delacour, Pop! Viktor Krum, Pop! Professor Sybill Trelawney, Pop! Harry Potter, Pop! Cedric Diggory and Pop! Fawkes. (We absolutely love those dress robes!)

Pop in a Box also adds a new version of the infamous Lord Voldemort with Nagini wrapped around his shoulders. Visit Funko’s website for a closer look!

Which collection, or collectible, are you most excited about, Potter fans?



Do you love Harry Potter merchandise as much as us?

Great!

Check out the awesome Harry Potter collections below.

Harry Potter Wrapping Paper

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Problem with “Monetizing Harry Potter”


Eric S. at MuggleNet is not happy about the merging of PotterMore and WizardingWorld.com, the swallowing in effect of a supposedly Rowling-driven-and-controlled property by Warner Brothers to create another profit center for their Harry Potter merchandising franchise. He writes in Wrong Time to Further Monetize Brand:

Warner Bros. has some chutzpah. They already more or less run the world for Harry Potter fans, controlling all the rights, operating the theme parks, stage plays, both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises, and meanwhile setting their crosshairs on what small, fan-formed community gatherings they can find. But this is not enough. Now, they’re going to incentivize Harry Potter fans paying them (I am presuming monthly) fees to be considered Wizarding World Gold members. And it comes with a special gold button that they can wear. Give me a break….

Every time I visit a bookstore, I find another shelf overflowing with official Harry Potter merchandise. The US Potter books themselves keep getting released with different covers. Funko pop vinyl figurines, board games, and more bust out from the shelves. Saturation for Harry Potter merchandise has reached an all-time high, and as I mentioned, quality for the largest properties is at an all-time low. Now Warner Bros. is taking Pottermore, which began as an earnest, delightful, and free companion to the Harry Potter books before it was gutted and replaced by the official-movie-photo-riddled, listicle-laden, soulless entry it is currently, and moving the content to a site where they are going to charge fans for access to the Potter e-books and to get decent seats at their overpriced, under-planned stage show. Count me the f*%# out.

Rowling Library ‘Daily Prophet’ #36 expresses similar sentiments.

The keeper line from Eric S.’s philippic I think is “Saturation for Harry Potter merchandise has reached an all-time high, and as I mentioned, quality for the largest properties is at an all-time low.” In case you think he is exaggerating about the new Potter related products available for sale, here is a list of gift items and fandom signal-tokens that have been rolled out just this week.

This is nothing new or especially lamentable. They had a display at the first HPEF fan convention in 2003 of Harry Potter products that included underwear and toothpaste. I bought a plastic plate there, a token which featured a picture of Harry catching a snitch, for my youngest son, now 18, who still treasures it. There’s a glut of products today that would not have been imaginable back then but the quality or ‘taste’ involved has not changed significantly.

What has changed is what we’re getting for our money in what Eric S. calls “the largest properties.” The movie adaptations of the original septology were only acceptable in light of the novels they reflected and our experiences we had therein; the films were servicable trailers for the imaginative entry or re-entry into the written stories. Rowling’s screenplays are not making it to the screen except as butchered re-packaging by Warmer Brothers mechanics named David, she didn’t write the play, and her new novels featuring Cormoran Strike have no wand magic.

If Rowling were to write up her screenplays as novels for Warner Brothers to adapt into blockbuster formula pieces, there wouldn’t be any bickering about the “monetizing” of PotterMore or the schlock available online and in gift shops. Here’s hoping someone at Rowling, Inc., headquarters realizes the brand is being devalued and urges her, in all her free time post twitter, to go with her strengths as a story teller — as a novelist, that is, not a screenwriter.

Your thoughts?

Do you love Harry Potter merchandise as much as us?

Great!

Check out the awesome Harry Potter collections below.

Harry Potter Wrapping Paper

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