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1. Emma Watson to star as Belle in Disney’s Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast”

Rumors have been flying around for the past couple of years–is Emma going to play a princess on screen, or is she not? The question has been up in the air for quite a while. Yesterday, the question was answered. Emma Watson tweeted a couple of lyrics from from the opening song to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as the news broke: Emma Watson will be playing the role of Belle in Disney’s new live-action movie of it’s hit cartoon classic. The studio announced yesterday that filming is anticipated to begin later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal wrote:


Watson has been cast as Belle, the studio announced yesterday, the book-loving prisoner of the titular Beast’s castle in the tale as old as time. Production on the film is anticipated to begin later this year, and it is set to be directed by Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Parts 1 and 2?).

Disney’s original 1991 animated version of the French fairy tale, which was first spun off into a Broadway musical in 1994, featured three Academy Award-nominated songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast” took home the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1992). Upon posting the news of her casting on her Facebook page, Watson said she couldn’t wait to start singing Menken and Ashman’s famous tunes.

Emma Watson wrote:

I’m finally able to tell you… that I will be playing Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it. Emma xx

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2. Pottermore’s Proud House Contest

In celebration with Harry Potter week in Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Pottermore announced a contest to earn 1 million house points for “the house that celebrates its pride the most vociferously” last week. Today Pottermore outlined the rules of the contest that will be this Friday. The rules, as can be seen on Pottermore Insider, are as such:



  • You create a post, movie, image or other creative celebration of your house pride.

  • Add your house pride hashtag to your contribution: #GryffindorPride #SlytherinPride
    #RavenclawPride #HufflepuffPride

  • Upload your brilliant idea on Facebook, TwitterTumblr, or Instagram.

  • We will share some of the best house pride celebrations on the Pottermore Insider, Twitter,     Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

  • Remember, you don’t need to make your Facebook profile public for us to see it. Just make your     house pride contribution public.

  • As Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram don’t allow under 13s to participate, artwork from our     younger Pottermore members can be uploaded onto pottermore.com. Visit your house founder’s     page and upload your picture to the image gallery at the bottom: Godric Gryffindor,
    Helga HufflepuffSalazar SlytherinRowena Ravenclaw
    . You won’t need to include a hashtag for     these pictures.

  • We will count all the contributions up from Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will discount any     contributions that are inappropriate or that are not in the spirit of the contest.

  • The winning house will be the one with the highest number of creative house pride contributions.     This house will earn one million points.

  • All of you who love brewing potions and duelling keep going, as this doesn’t affect your personal     standings on the Leaderboards.

  • And don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of time after this contest to continue earning points through     brewing potions and duelling, before the next House Cup is awarded.

Good luck to all the Houses, and may the proudest House win!


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3. Happy (Belated) Birthday Gilderoy Lockhart

Yesterday, Gilderoy Lockhart celebrated his 51st birthday. Whether you are a fan of his books, his glittering smile, his employment at Hogwarts as Harry’s second year Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, or his particular gift for memory charms, please help us wish this once-famous wizard a very Happy Birthday! Please direct your comments, well wishes, and gifts to Saint Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

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4. Original Hogwarts Express Pulling Into Leavesden Studio Tour

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London announced today that it will be bringing the original Hogawarts Express to its space this spring, allowing users to board the actual train used for filming one of the most iconic scenes in the Harry Potter films.

This will come as part of a 20,000 square foot expansion as well as a recreation of Platform 9 3/4. The new permanent section will also include a chance to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall (the look of which, fans who’ve been to London will recognize, will likely differ greatly than the Kings’ Cross photo op offered tourists today).

Platform 934 and the Hogwarts Express - Concept Art (with logo) - social use (1)

The train, British steam train no. 5972 (‘Olton Hall’), was used for the very last scene shot for the films – of the epilogue, featuring Harry, Ron and Hermione sending their kids off to school. It was filmed on a soundstage, running the full 100-acre length of the backlot. The 78-year-old engine will be displayed on a realistic set of tracks, complete with billowing steam.

The attraction will also recreate the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by production designer Stuart Craig and reassembled by a team of the original craftsmen.

Visitors may walk along the corridor and sit in the original carriage seen in the first film. Video “windows” will show the process used to create the train scenes from the flims. A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.

Stuart Craig said:

“The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 26 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. Before we began filming in 2000, we scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”

The new section opens March 19 and will be included in the standard ticket price.

Tell us what you think of the new expansion in the comments below!

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5. Court ruling in JK Rowling Libel Case Challenged

Associated Newspapers has appealed against the ruling made in 2013 in a libel case brought forth by J.K. Rowling. Ms. Rowling brought forth the suit after the Daily Mail published an article with the title “How JK Rowling’s sob story about her past as a single mother has left the churchgoers who cared for her upset and bewildered.” As a part of court proceedings, Ms. Rowling was allowed to read a unilateral statement in open court. The court ruled that a monetary compensation, of an amount agreed upon by both parties, was to be paid (which Ms. Rowling promptly donated to charity), and a formal apology was to be published. Both forms of compensation were performed, and Ms. Rowling accepted the apology in January 2014.

  Associated Newspapers does not dispute that Ms. Rowling was entitled to make her statement in open court, nor does it dispute the proper compensations which it has put forth. The Associated Newspapers object to a number of terms and conditions in the proposed statement. The Irish Examiner reports:

Associated’s counsel, Andrew Caldecott QC, told Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Ryder and Lady Justice Sharp that Mr Justice Tugendhat’s ruling, in April last year, was a “most unsatisfactory precedent” and one, which if generally followed, would create difficulties for the offer of amends regime. Mr Caldecott said: “Although this appeal raises important issues, it in no way seeks to dilute or qualify the published apologies to Ms Rowling which she was properly and rightly entitled to.”

Mr Caldecott said that the whole purpose of a statement in open court was to attract wide publicity, which made it the more important that the statement was confined to, and accurately reflected, the pleaded claim.

Justin Rushbrooke QC, for Rowling, said that the appeal did not, as claimed, raise any important issue of principle or practice in defamation law, but was plainly misconceived and an “exercise in nit-picking”.

He said that only rarely should a defendant be permitted to dictate to a claimant what she was permitted to say in a statement in open court.

It was primarily a matter between the court and the party wishing to make a statement, and the proper arbiter of what was acceptable in a unilateral statement was the judge.   The judges are expected to reserve their decision to a later date.

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6. Emma Watson’s UN Speech at Davos

This morning, Emma Watson made a speech, in front of business and world leaders, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Having been very successful with her UN speech last September, Ms. Watson announced a new initiative to ending gender inequality, as a part of her HeForShe campaign. As a UN Women’s goodwill ambassador, Ms. Watson laid forth a plan for a year-long initiative called “IMPACT 10x10x10.” This new plan resolves to “to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality” according to The Guardian.

After her speech, Ms. Watson opened up her Twitter to accept and answer questions about her gender-equality campaigns.

Ms. Watson’s speech at Davos can be seen below:


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7. New “Casual Vacancy” TV show Book Cover

Little, Brown Book Group has released a new edition of J.K. Rowling’s adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. A picture of the cover was posted on The Casual Vacancy Facebook page, and can be seen below. The new book cover is being released to promote BBC One’s three-part mini series drama of the novel. The cover depicts Michael Gambon (Howard Mollison), Keeley Hawes (Samantha Mollison), Brian Vernal (“Fats”), and Abigail Lawrie (Krystal Weedon), clustered in a not-so-happy looking group against a “Pragford” backdrop. J.K. Rowling’s mini series has captured a couple Harry Potter cast members–Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), and Simon McBurney (the voice of Kreacher) who plays Colin Wall in the mini series.  The Casual Vacancy mini series will premiere this February in the United Kingdom. It is set to become an HBO special in the United States at a later date.  

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8. Leavesden Studio Announcement Coming Soon

The Harry Potter Facebook page recently posted a mysterious picture earlier this week. It showed the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London logo, captioned with “New Secrets will be Revealed! Announcement on 26th January.” The Pottermore Facebook page followed a day later posting a similar image, bearing the same logo over the picture of a wand, and the caption “Engorgio!” As many Potter fans know, “Engorgio” is a spell used to enlarge or expand things in the Harry Potter books. Fans now wait in anticipation to see what new surprises Leavesden’s expansion has in store. We will post updates on this breaking news here, on Leaky! Stay tuned!

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9. HPA Wins Four-Year Battle against Child Slavery

Recently, the HPA (Harry Potter Alliance) made us proud to be Harry Potter fans. The Harry Potter Alliance launched a campaign in October 2010, with the help of John Green, advocating against the use of sweatshop labor, specifically child slavery. The HPA were particularly focused on persuading Warner Bros. to stop producing Harry Potter chocolate and other candies, that were supplied to Warner Bros. by a company who received the grade of an “F” from Free 2 Work, an anti-slavery organization. This supplier provided Warner Bros. Harry Potter branded candy for Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other Harry Potter shops. In alliance with Free 2 Work and Walk Free, the HPA petitioned the Warner Bros. to be open about the groups’ findings, and change their ways. The HPA made Howler videos, had plans to hang a Dark Mark above Warner Bros. Studios, and got in contact with J.K. Rowling’s lawyer, who made inquiries. Warner Bros. sent HPA founder, Andrew Slack, and HPA’s Harry Potter Global Franchise Development president, Joshua Berger, a letter stating that “By the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent UTZ or Fair Trade certified.” The Washington Post reports:

Chocolate and candy play an important role in the “Harry Potter” books. After he leaves his abusive aunt and uncle to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry is boggled by the abundance of sweets his peers have access to; chocolate is a symbol of how Hogwarts will be the first place that really nourishes Harry’s body and his mind. And chocolate is big real-world business in the “Harry Potter” empire: You can buy Chocolate Frogs, one of the series’ signature sweets. Slack said. ” ‘Harry Potter,’ more and more, is becoming a classic, and one that children are growing up on, with all seven books having been written. It’s part of the culture. It represents righteousness, nobility, love, so much beauty and a place of safety that people go to, and moral authority. If the ‘Harry Potter’ brand were to move something like fair trade, it would be making a statement that not only is the ‘Harry Potter’ brand a cut above the rest but that [other franchises] have to catch up to it.” Warner Bros. thanking the Harry Potter Alliance for “your partnership throughout our discussions on this important issue,” and Slack and Walk Free both emphasizing their praise for the company. Like Warner Bros., the Harry Potter Alliance wants to keep J.K. Rowling’s creation in good standing. And like the alliance, Walk Free has an interest in finding new ways to spread messages about social justice and inequality. “In some ways, the flexibility of what the Harry Potter Alliance is doing is very useful,” he [Henry Jenkins, a professor of communication, journalism, cinematic arts and education at the University of Southern California] suggested. “It can form new kinds of alliances, it can again evolve over time as the cultural references change.

You may read more here.

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10. Tom Felton’s new Movie “Against the Sun” Premieres this Weekend

In just a couple of days, Tom Felton’s new movie, Against the Sun, will make its United States premiere. Tom Felton plays one of the three main roles, as a WWII fighter pilot who crashes into the ocean during a scouting mission, and finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with his two comrades. The three men must survive against the elements of the ocean without food or water.  The movie is set to release January 23, 2015. A trailer can be seen below, as well as a synopsis from IMDB.


A WWII pilot, bombardier, and radioman find themselves adrift on a lifeboat without food or water after being forced to ditch their plane during a scouting mission.

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11. Tom Felton joins Pottermore….As a Gryffindor

Earlier this morning Tom Felton tweeted that he had finally done it. He had finally joined Pottermore. He took J.K. Rowling’s Sorting Hat test, the official of all Sorting Hat tests, and was sorted into….Gryffindor. As J.K. Rowling mentioned in her new writing about Draco on Pottermore, Tom Felton is one of the nicest people anyone could ever meet–making him drastically different than the character of Draco that he portrays in the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling tweeted back at Tom, assuring him that the test was not faulty, saying, “I could’ve told you that years ago. I just didn’t want to spoil your motivation ;)”. Ms. Rowling stuck around twitter to answer a few more of fans questions, as she has been doing lately during her’s and Robert Galbraith’s writing breaks. Please hop on over to her Twitter to catch up on all of her wonderful replies.

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12. David Ryall, Elphias Doge Actor, Dies at 79

David Ryall, who played Elphias Doge in “Deathly Hallows: Part One,” passed away this Christmas. He was seventy-nine and had a career spanning over five decades.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this sad time.

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13. Merry (Happy) Christmas

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, as you unwrap your Weasley sweaters and Invisibility coats, we at the Leaky Cauldron would like to wish you a very Merry/Happy Christmas!

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14. Final Pottermore Gift: Order of Merlin

Alas, we’ve come to the end of Pottermore’s twelve days of gifts, and today, for the very last gift, we’re getting new writing from J. K. Rowling on the “Order of Merlin” award. You can read all about it on Pottermore.

From all of us at Leaky, have a very happy holiday!

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15. More Christmas presents from Pottermore!

Today it finally arrived. The rumored release of a major character’s life story appear to be true. As it gets closer to Christmas, J.K. Rowling gives us the gift of Draco Malfoy’s background. Hop on over to Pottermore to enjoy this excellent new writing from our favorite author!

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16. New Pottermore Gift: Inferi

New J. K. Rowling writing has gone up on Pottermore and this time she’s writing about the frightening Inferi! Go to Pottermore to see Rowling’s thoughts on these Dark creatures.

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17. New Pottermore Gift Discusses Rowling’s Thoughts on Vampires, Rowling Reveals That There Are Jewish Potter Characters Via Twitter

The latest Pottermore gift discusses vampires within the world of Harry Potter and finally puts to bed the old fan theory that Snape is a vampire. Previous Pottermore gifts have included new potions to make, as well as a Potions leaderboard in the Great Hall, and a new Potion badge.

J. K. Rowling also gave us some more info about the Harry Potter universe over Twitter yesterday, revealing that one of Harry’s classmates, Anthony Goldstein, is Jewish. Rowling went on to say that all faiths – barring Wiccans – are represented at Hogwarts.

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18. Third Pottermore Gift: History of Cauldrons

Today’s Pottermore Christmas gift takes us to the Potions classroom, where J. K. Rowling gives us some background information on cauldrons and tells us why she decided to put Snape in charge of Potions classes. Go to Pottermore to see today’s Potion-themed riddle and read new info from JKR!

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19. Hot Butterbeer Now Sold at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando announced today that in addition to cold, frozen, and ice cream flavor guests at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can now drink butterbeer the way it was written in the books: hot!

Just in time for winter, this delicious new addition has the same alluring flavors of butterscotch and shortbread that have been so popular in the colder varieties. But the top-secret recipe has been fine-tuned just the right way to make it perfect as a hot treat.

Hot butterbeer can be found at Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head Pub on the Hogsmeade side, and at the Leaky Cauldron, the Hopping Pot, and the Fountain of Fair Fortune on the Diagon Alley side. You can read more here.

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20. J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech to be Published as an Illustrated Book

J. K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech (which you can watch here or below), which centered of the benefits of failure, will be published as an illustrated book on April 14th. The book will be called Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. All the profits from the book will go to Lumos, J. K. Rowling’s charity, and to help provide financial aid to students at Harvard.


The book will be illustrated by Joel Holland. You can read more here.



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21. J. K. Rowling Donates Signed Copy of “The Silkworm” to Lumos Fundraiser

J. K. Rowling has donated a copy of “The Silkworm” (which is signed by both Rowling and Robert Galbraith!) to the Lumos fundraiser that hopes to create opportunities for children with disabilities to access education in Moldova. Anyone who donates will be entered to win this copy of “The Silkworm,” and multiple entries are allowed.

You can read more about Lumos and their current fundraiser here.

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22. “Half-Blood Prince” Moments Coming to Pottermore December 12th

The Pottermore Insider has announced that Christmas will be coming early to Pottermore and from December 12th to December 23rd Pottermore users will see a new “gift” each day. Galleons and new potions will be among the gifts, as well as new writing from J. K. Rowling on Florean Fortescue and Draco Malfoy:

We’re feeling extra generous this year, so we’re bringing you early gifts this Christmas. Starting Friday, December 12, we’ll be releasing a festive surprise for you every day at 1pm GMT (8am EST).

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23. Pottermore Posts First Christmas Gift: New Writing from J. K. Rowling and 300 Galleons for All Users

Today starts off Pottermore’s Christmas celebration: from today until December 23rd Pottermore users will see new writing from J. K. Rowling, as well as additional “gifts.” Today, 300 Galleons were added to every user’s Gringott’s vault, and J. K. Rowling posted information on Cokeworth, the town that Lily Potter and Severus Snape grew up in.

Stay close to Leaky to see what other surprises Pottermore brings this holiday season.

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24. Robert Galbraith’s “The Cuckoo’s Calling” to be a TV Drama

Hours ago, J.K. Rowling tweeted for her dear friend, Robert Galbraith, to share the exciting news that his first novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, is to become a BBC 1 TV Drama. Our favorite author said that she shared Robert’s excitement, and thought it wise to share the news with her fan base as Robert is particularly silent. Rowling tweeted:


My friend ‘s first novel is going to be a TV drama on . He’s very excited, but expressing it with characteristic silence.


BBC 1 has not released any statement thus far, and the only information about the show is coming from Queen Rowling herself. Direct your questions to Twitter, and you may be lucky enough to get an answer from her.

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25. The 2nd Day of Christmas: Pottermore

For the 12 days of Christmas, or J.K. Rowling’s 12 days of giving the gift of new Pottermore writings, the second day leads us to Fred and George’s Weasley Wizard Wheezes. There, after solving today’s riddle, you will find new stories about Florean Fortescue and our very own Leaky Cauldron! Please visit Pottermore.com to read more!

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