Category Archives: Harry News and Commentary

Ravenclaw Reader

ravenclaw readerAttention all Harry Potter nerds, fans, and admirers! If you thought all the smart talk on Harry Potter was dying down all these years later, you’re in for a happy surprise. Our own John Patrick Pazdziora (Mr Pond) has been working hard with Micah Snell on Unlocking Press’s newest addition to its excellent books on Potter. I contributed one of the “rebuttal” chapters. Ravenclaw Reader is an excellent volume of brilliant essays. See links below for everything you need to know about the book, and get your copy!

Booklaunch home page (with free video, full endorsements, Amazon link)
Ravenclaw Reader‘s Amazon page
 
MuggleNet Academia:  Interview with Ravenclaw Reader editors and Prof Joshua Richards on St Andrews Potter Conference, book, free Snape lecture video, launch offer
HogwartsProfessor.com post on Ravenclaw Reader book launch

Rowling writes more Potter!

As some of you know, J.K. Rowling has been writing about the 2014 World Quidditch Cup at Pottermore through the pen of former Quidditch professional and now Daily Prophet sports writer Ginny Weasley Potter.

For the final match, however, we are treated to the Quick Quill of Rita Skeeter. Skeeter writes about former DA members, including the Trio and their spouses, attending the match. And as can be expected, she performs her usual hatchet job on all of them here. (The story was released on Tuesday, July 11).

Highlights:

About to turn 34, there are a couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror’s black hair, but he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient twelve-year-old. The famous lightning scar has company: Potter is sporting a nasty cut over his right cheekbone. Requests for information as to its provenance merely produced the usual response from the Ministry of Magic: ‘We do not comment on the top secret work of the Auror department, as we have told you no less than 514 times, Ms. Skeeter.’ So what are they hiding? Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem?

And:

In the immediate aftermath of the battle Weasley, whose famous ginger hair appears to be thinning slightly, entered into employment with the Ministry of Magic alongside Potter, but left only two years later to co-manage the highly successful wizarding joke emporium Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Was he, as he stated at the time, ‘delighted to assist my brother George with a business I’ve always loved’? Or had he had his fill of standing in Potter’s shadow? Was the work of the Auror Department too much for a man who has admitted that the destruction of He Who Could Not Be Named’s Horcruxes ‘took its toll’ on him? He shows no obvious signs of mental illness from a distance, but the public is not allowed close enough to make a proper assessment. Is this suspicious?

And:

Last of the ringleaders of Dumbledore’s Army is, of course, Luna Lovegood (now married to Rolf Scamander, swarthy grandson of celebrated Magizoologist Newt). Still delightfully eccentric, Luna has been sweeping around the VIP section in robes composed of the flags of all sixteen qualifying countries. Her twin sons are ‘at home with grandpa’. Is this a euphemism for ‘too disturbed to be seen in public’? Surely only the unkindest would suggest so.

But there is so much more joy to be found in Skeeter’s article. What does it say about me that I actually love reading Skeeter? I think she’s hilarious and a master at manipulative speculation.

That said, I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of her Quick Quill.

So what do you think? Does this only make you long for more Potter stories as it does me?

 

 

Rowling writes Harry Potter prequel play

Are we ready for a play about Harry’s years before Hogwarts?

According to ew.com:

J.K. Rowling says she is working on a play about the boy wizard’s life before he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Rowling said in a statement Friday that the play will “explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast. “

Rowling will be a co-producer on the show, along with veteran theater producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender. The statement said Rowling will collaborate with a writer but will not write the script herself.

Here is more:

The focus here seems to be on Harry’s more Dickensian life with the Dursley clan and his interior life—and certainly that life was more closely tied to the Wizarding World than Harry realizes in his first few years at Hogwarts….

Rowling says:

“Over the years I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin’s vision was the only one that really made sense to me, and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage. After a year in gestation it is exciting to see this project moving on to the next phase.”

I expect we’ll see where the magical community intersected with his life, including Arabella Figg and Daedelus Diggle.

What do you think?

New Potter Cover Art Coming

You may have heard this news already but I thought it worth posting and thinking about. To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the start of the Harry Potter series, Scholastic, the U.S. publisher, will release all seven books with new cover art. Kazu Kibuishi, a graphic novelist, will be doing the new artwork. This will only be on the trade paperback editions. The artwork of Mary GrandPre, who did the original U.S. covers, will still appear on the hardback and digest paperback editions. Scholastic will also release the boxed set of the “school” books, namely Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

As to why Scholastic is releasing the books with new artwork, Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade Publishing says, “In the last year, we’d been thinking of how to make Harry Potter accessible and relevant to a new audience of eight- and nine-year-olds…We started the Harry Potter Book Club as a way to bring kids, some of whom maybe only knew the movies, back to the books, and introduce this wonderful world to them. Mary’s covers are so iconic to all of us, and they will remain on the U.S. hardcover and digest paperback editions. But we were trying to figure out a new look, with new appeal, and with the 15th anniversary coming up, it seemed like a good idea to hook into that.”

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Around the Common Room: October 12, 2012

The Hog’s Head isn’t the only site pulling out the Halloween props–ghosts, spooks and goblins are all over the web! To begin, you may want to get your Potter-themed costume from OfficialHarryP

otterCostumes.com. Though making your own is always a perfectly good choice, too.

On Blu-Ray this fall: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection, which includes such famed monsters as The Phantom of the Opera, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Mummy.

Definitely frightening: a pie chart of Voldemort’s soul, describing what percentage is in which Horcrux (assuming a 50/50 split every time).

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Around the Common Room: August 24, 2012

It takes some doing to beat Harry Potter in any form of sales record, but this week, Amazon reported that the Hunger Games trilogy “has suppl

anted Harry Potter as the best-selling series of all time on the website.” (Link and quote from EW’s Shelf Life.) Said Blogengamot member Arabella when forwarding this link, “That’s what JK gets for not releasing to ebook sooner and on Amazon.” Straight-up truth, there. Amazon’s figures include ebook sales, but Amazon has never been allowed to sell the digitized Potter books.

Amazon has more to offer literary fans this week, with a book of essays by YA authors on the Hunger Games books. This anthology can be augmented with a booster pack, which includes essays on the movies. Also, Twilight fans may be interested in Joel and Ella Emmett’s Twilight for Life: Finding Meaning in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight–and in Life.

And in other news:

The International Reading Association’s Engage site has posted a fascinating interview with Shannon Hale, covering some topics of likely interest to the Pub. For instance, here’s Ms. Hale on getting young boys to read about girls:

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Around the Common Room: August 17, 2012

It’s that time again–not just for a Common Room linkfest, but for the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Results, where, in honor of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s “It was a dark and stormy ni

ght”, judges have chosen and proclaimed this year’s winning attempts to write the worst possible opening line for a novel.

Much imagination goes into this contest every year. As a big fan of really bad puns, I probably laughed hardest over this one:

Professor Lemieux had anticipated that his latest paper would be received with skepticism within the small, fractious circle of professional cosmologists, few of whom were prepared to accept his hypothesis that our universe had been created in a marijuana-induced industrial accident by insectoid aliens; nevertheless, he was stung when Hawking airily dismissed it as the Bug Bong Theory. — Alan Follett, Hercules, CA

But there are many more to enjoy, all of them works of positively awful brilliance. Have fun.

In other news of literature and imagination:

From SmartPopBooks.com, How Star Trek Liberated Television. This piece contains some interesting thought that may appeal in particular to pub readers used to the marginalization of fantasy and speculative fiction in general:

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