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The newest list of actors joining the set of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been announced: Selma actress Carmen Ejogo, Gemma Chan from Humans and Mission Impossible / Transformers actor Jon Voight.
They will be joining Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler and Samantha Morton on set, alongside director David Yates (director of the final four Harry Potter films).
Filming for Fantastic Beasts began in August 2015, following the 2014 announcement of the three-part film series. The film is set for release in November 2016.
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Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.
The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!
The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview
Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)
I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!
What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)
To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.
What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)
I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!
Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)
I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.
(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)
Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)
The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.
Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)
Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!
Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)
Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.
What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)
That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!
Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)
There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.
How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)
I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.
What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)
Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.
Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)
At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.
Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)
I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!
How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)
There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.
What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)
I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.
Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)
It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!
This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!
LeakyCon 2016 has been announced and tickets went on sale over the weekend! Tickets are selling fast, but are still available. There are two types of tickets up for grabs–a general admissions ticket and a Marauder’s Pass ticket!
Marauder Pass — $450
The LeakyCon Marauder Pass is our VIP ticket. This pass includes preferred seating in our MainStage hall, three guaranteed autograph sessions, three guaranteed photobooth sessions, a dedicated Marauder Liaison, an exclusive registration gift bag, a commemorative poster, expedited on-site check-in, and many more magical surprises. The first fifty attendees to purchase the Marauder Pass will also receive an exclusive meet-and-greet with LeakyCon special guests!
Marauder Pass holders also receive everything included in a General Pass (listed below).
General Pass — $250
The LeakyCon General Pass is our standard ticket type type. This pass includes entrance to the opening and closing ceremonies, which are must-see bookends for our magical weekend. The General pass also includes access to a full weekend of exciting programming, Wizard Rock concerts, our Saturday evening ball, autograph and photobooth raffles, costume contests, podcasts, meetups, and the LeakyCon Marketplace (our Diagon Alley-inspired vendor hall).
More information about the magical experience, celebrating the fandom, and more is available on tixr, where the tickets can be purchased!
The release of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone is nigh–in fact, it’s tomorrow (October 6th)! Four glorious new illustrations have been bestowed upon us ahead of the book’s release, thanks to an exclusive post made by EW. Steady yourselves:
There’s this striking illustration of the quidditch hoops, set against a backdrop of Hogwarts, with some very dramatic, Halloween-y colouring:
A drawing of Harry, presumably at platform 9 3/4:
along with this fascinating glimpse into the birth of Kay’s depiction of Harry:
“I was looking at all these photographs of evacuee children from the 1940s — in England, you’d call them ‘blitz kids’ — who have been taken away from their home during the blitz. They had sort of thick, scruffy hair, and round glasses, and looked sort of underfed and malnourished, from really tough East End parts of London as well. I wanted that real character coming through, some adversity. But also slightly fragile, because he’s thin, and he’s smaller than usual.”
Luckily, Kay spotted the perfect young model while riding the London Underground, and told the boy’s mother he’d like to photograph her son as a character to work from. The boy, Clay, is a stage performer, so he’s fantastically skilled at interpreting the spectrum of emotions Kay asks him to project.
This illustration and discussion of Dumbledore, which reveals that Kay has strewn easter eggs throughout his artwork (another thing to look forward to!):
“What I like about early portrait painting,” Kay says, “is that you have objects in them that are representative of that person. So the dried plant there is honesty — but on the honesty is also a little camouflaged praying mantis. It’s sort of saying, there is honesty with Dumbledore, but with a catch. There’s also a little bottle of dragon’s blood because he wrote a book on dragon’s blood. And knitting because, of course, he likes to knit.”
Dumbledore’s likeness has a special place in Kay’s heart: “He’s based on an amazing illustrator I know, who I absolutely idolize. He’s been an inspiration for years for me, so it’s a huge deal that he’s lent his face to Dumbledore.”
And his portrayal of the perilous wizard’s chess game:
And there’s yet another thing to marvel at: Pottermore has released a video of Kay discussing his creative process, along with a peek into his studio! Click here to watch it, or see it below!
The question of Lavender’s death has been floating around since 2007, and recently Pottermore has added further fuel to the fire.
Forums everywhere (such as this one on Reddit, and this one on Goodreads) have no definitive conclusion, trying to take evidence from both the book and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 film.
Her ‘death’ scene in the book seems a little more vague:
“Two bodies fell from the balcony overhead. As they reached the ground a grey blur that Harry took for an animal sped four-legged across the hall to sink its teeth into one of the fallen. “NO!” shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand, Fenrir Greyback was thrown backward from the feebly stirring body of Lavender Brown.”
After falling from the balcony, Greyback is seen almost making a mid-fight snack out of Lavender, but Hermione throws him back, and Lavender is seen ‘feebly stirring’, which suggests that she could be alive.
Some seem to think the movie errs more toward the ‘dead’ side of the argument. Acknowledging that movies do not make better sources than books, most say that they make it pretty clear; Trelawney and the Patil twins are seen saying ‘She’s gone’ and covering a body, and the earlier suggestive shot of Lavender looking vacant (and dead) after Greyback attacks someone certainly makes it look like she’s dead.
Her Wiki page also looks bleak. It states that she was killed by Greyback in The Battle of Hogwarts, stating Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey as a source.
Now Pottermore itself (and through it, potentially Jo herself) has entered the debate. In its recent update, Pottermore had stated Lavender as ‘presumed dead':
That’s already vague wording, but as if that wasn’t enough, Lavender Brown’s page on Pottermore recently updated again, removing all information about her death:
Hypable and Bustle have had the same discussions, and are none the wiser. Though J.K. Rowling has been closely involved in the production of the films and of Pottermore, we’ll need the words from Jo herself if we’re going to sort this once and for all.
It’s a close debate, so what do you think? Is Lavender alive?
Today we celebrate Professor Minerva McGonagall’s 62nd birthday. Professor McGonagall now serves as the Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She succeeded the position from her good friend, Albus Dumbledore, after the position was held briefly by fellow colleague, Severus Snape. Previous to obtaining this elite position, Professor McGonagall taught Transfigurations and was the head of Gryffindor House.
After tragic incidents in her early life, and the loss of her dear husband, like many other characters (Harry included), Minerva found her home at Hogwarts. She deeply cared for her students and their well being. Ever loyal to her Quidditch team, she was known–on the rare occasion–to buy Gryffindor Quidditch players broomsticks.
She greatly assisted Harry Potter in the battle of Hogwarts, and fought for her school and her home. Minerva has shown great strength, great courage, fabulous teaching skills, and hidden under sharp wit, motherly love for her students.
Please join us in wishing Minerva McGonagall a very happy birthday!
Telegraph Books has released new, exclusive images from Jim Kay–whose illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is set to be released October 6. These images–all 19!–can be seen on the Telegraph’s website, here. A couple of them–McGonagall and the Sorting Hat–can be seen below.
As it is October, the celebration of the anticipated release of the first illustrated Harry Potter book is in full swing. Please join us in the celebrations!
We are sad to report that Caio César, the Brazilian voice of Harry Potter, has died at the age of 27. The news of César’s passing came to us via J.K. Rowling’s Tweet:
In addition to voicing Harry Potter, Caio César’s worked as the Brazilian voice of Daniel Radcliffe in December Boys and The Woman in Black.
We, here at Leaky, express our condolences to the family and friends of Caio César. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who knew him.
Royal Connaugh Park, a filming location used in Harry Potter films, is in the process of being turned into luxury apartments, The Independent reports. The location has been used in over 390 films and TV shows and the parts of the estate familiar from the Harry Potter films are the dining hall in its Victorian Gothic building, which served as the Hogwarts’ Great Hall, and the tower, which was used as Dumbledore’s office.
According to Daily Mail, the Victorian Gothic Building used as the Great Hall in the first three films has stayed largely unchanged after the shooting of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and will be free for the buyers to be used at their leisure.
The development of the Park started in 2009 and according to Comer Homes, a restoration specialist, “There will eventually be 380 apartments and houses set in 100 acres of parkland with access to a fitness club and an underground swimming pool”.
The first 28 apartments are now on sale with a price ranging from £649,000 to £2.8 million.
In addition to Harry Potter, Royal Connaugh Park has been used for example in St. Trinians’s, Started for Ten and Children of Men.
Sohana Collins is not your typical awards-show honoree, but two superstars are presenting her with an award this week– David Beckham and Rupert Grint. Collins is the recipient of a 2015 Pride of Britain Award, a special honor sponsored by the Daily Mirror that celebrates the achievements of Britain’s unsung heroes. The winners are “ordinary” people whose lives have made a positive impact on the nation.
Collins is receiving the Teenager of Courage Award for her inspiring battle with dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a frightening genetic skin disease where even the smallest scratch can become a blistering wound. Sohanna writes that it feels like “painful burns that don’t heal.” While the pain from her disease never ceases, Sohana doesn’t let it stop her. At just 13 years old, she has already inspired a foundation, the Sohana Research Fund, to raise money to help others struggling with the same genetic disorder.
At the awards ceremony, Rupert Grint presented Sohana Collins with her award and a special witch’s broom, while David Beckham spoke of how wonderful it was to celebrate “such an amazing young lady.”
The 2015 Pride of Britain Awards will be broadcast October 1st at 8 pm BST on ITV.
To read more about Sohana Collins, see the Daily Mirror article, here; to support the Sohana Research Fund, donate here.
Warner Brother’s Leavesden Studio Tour is hosting a one-of-a-kind fan experience this Christmas: it’s first (promise of more in the future?) “Dinner in the Great Hall” event. On December 3, fans have the opportunity to eat in the iconic Great Hall set, just as their favorite actors did many times before them.
We all get excited about Christmas–Christmas decorations, music, presents, and more! Even more, we get excited about Christmas at Hogwarts–it somehow makes it even more magical. Even more exciting, for this grand dinner, the Great Hall will be decorated for the Christmas season. There will be Christmas music, and Christmas presents? Yes, dinner comes with a wand!
The dinner invitation extends to fans over the age of 18 only–do to the bar that will be provided for purchasing additional drinks. Dinner guests will be seated at tables of ten, and the event will take place from 6 pm to midnight. There will be music and dancing–a true Yule Ball experience! Warner Brother’s Leavesden Studio Tour describes the event:
Join us this Christmas for our first ‘Dinner in the Great Hall’ and experience something extra special as you’re greeted on arrival with welcome drinks and canapés, before dining in the iconic set that is the Great Hall.
The Hogwarts dining room will be dressed for the occasion with the original props used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, including flaming Christmas puddings and hams studded with cherries. A wand will be waiting for you at your table and you’ll enjoy the first two courses of a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on the authentic set (vegetarian option also available).
- Explore the Studio Tour, admiring sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the Weasley’s kitchen at The Burrrow, which will also be dressed as they were for winter scenes.
- Enjoy a selection of three festive dessert bowls on Platform 9 ¾, alongside the original Hogwarts Express.
- Drink Butterbeer in the backlot café and walk up the wizarding shopping street, Diagon Alley, before taking in the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model (covered in a layer of filmmaking snow especially for the festive season).
- Finish the evening with music and dancing, with a bar provided for those who wish to purchase additional drinks.
5.40pm Catch the shuttle bus from Watford Junction train station (£2 return)
6.00pm Arrive at the Studio Tour for welcome drinks and canapés
6.30pm Enjoy the holding room and cinema experience
6.50pm Enter the original Great Hall set
7.00pm Take your seat with other excited Harry Potter fans as you enjoy a two-course Christmas dinner in the set that hosted Hogwarts’ famous feasts
8.45pm Explore the remainder of the Studio Tour and enjoy a selection of festive dessert bowls onPlatform 9 ¾ as well as a cup of Butterbeer in the backlot café
10.15pm Conclude the evening with music and dancing (a bar will be available for those who wish to purchase additional drinks)
Midnight Depart (shuttle buses will return to Watford Junction train station)
There is a link to book tickets on the site, after reading terms and conditions. Be quick–we are sure these tickets will be gone with a swish and a flick! For answers to common questions, visit the Studio Tour site, here.
Salt Lake City’s Comic Con took place over the past weekend, and the Phelps twins led their own panel, answering questions and meeting fans in a very full ballroom.
Mugglenet reported on the event:
‘In Potter-related topics, James admitted he had seen a game of Muggle Quidditch and that he was surprised at how brutal the game could be. When asked what his strategy would be if he were the Snitch trying to avoid the Seekers, his answer was an amused, “I don’t know… run like hell?”
Oliver, meanwhile, admitted that he does have a few things from the set of the films, though not his wand (which he, like so many other members of the cast, wanted). Instead, he told the audience that he has a framed Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes bag on his wall and next to it, George’s ear!’
When asked about stories from the set of Harry Potter, the twins set straight the myth about them switching roles during filming and having to re-shoot scenes. They only switched seats for a rehearsal in the Great Hall, and switched back for filming so that the rest of the cast and crew wouldn’t have to waste time.
James and Oliver also told the audience that they would often visit the driving range set up behind their set, and try to hit golf balls at Wayne Manor on the Dark Knight film’s neighbouring set.
When asked about their potential Patronuses, James answered that he thought his would be a hedgehog (so he could avoid confrontation) and Oliver said he was a ‘chill guy’, so his would probably be a sloth.
The audience spent most of their time laughing as James and Oliver were coaxed into speaking in American accents. They also told a hilarious story about having to bleach their eyebrows to make them ginger, and an intern leaving Oliver’s bleach on for too long so set members ‘draw on his eyebrows for a couple of weeks’ because they were so white!
When asked by a fan what they thought of the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s version of Butterbeer, they said it was a lot better than on the set of the films seeing as it ‘actually tasted nice’. Oliver revealed that the Butterbeer seen in the films was actually ‘orange juice with a bit of whipped cream on top’!
Oliver told the audience that he would love to feature in a Western film, so he could ‘shoot some things’ and wear a hat, whilst James said he used to love the cartoon ‘Doug’, so his ideal role would be to play ‘Skeeter’ in a live-action remake.
We hope those of you who attended had a lot of fun – it certainly sounded like a great weekend!
Thanks to Mugglenet for the heads up!
September 26th marks Quirinus Quirrell’s birthday. His age is unknown.
Quirrell was a mousy and bookish wizard. Known for his intelligence, he was sorted into Ravenclaw House during his time at Hogwarts.
Though he lacked social charm and was teased for being timid, he was learned and known for his wisdom in the area of theoretical magic. He was not an impressive wizard; however, he was an excellent scholar, a characteristic that led him to a career as a professor at Hogwarts. He initially taught Muggle Studies before moving on to Defence Against the Dark Arts during the 1991-1992 school year.
After teaching Muggle Studies for some time, Quirrell took a sabbatical under the guise of gaining firsthand knowledge in his field, when in reality he was travelling the world in search of Lord Voldemort, who was rumoured to still be alive. His motivation for this quest was to be glorified as the person who finally tracked Voldemort down. Indignant over having been teased relentlessly, he had also vengefully hoped Voldemort might teach him some skills that would command the respect of others.
Quirrell was easily manipulated by the charismatic Lord Voldemort, who sensed his weakness. Voldemort convinced Quirrell to be his host body when he realized that Quirrell was a professor at Hogwarts and could help him acquire the Philosopher’s Stone. Quirrell spent the final part of his life sustaining Voldemort with unicorn blood and doing Voldemort’s bidding.
Marked by the effects of bullying and a descent into megalomania, Quirrell’s life came to a nasty end in 1992, during the skirmish over the Philosopher’s Stone with Harry Potter.
Today we celebrate Garrick Ollivander’s birthday. Though his exact birth year is uncertain, it seems that he is (or would be) roughly 96 years of age today.
Mr. Ollivander is best known as the proprietor of Ollivander’s Wand Shop in Diagon Alley. He descends from a long line of wand-makers, and is widely regarded as the best at his craft. Witches and Wizards flock to his shop from all over the globe to procure wands.
It is no surprise that sage Ollivander was sorted into Ravenclaw house during his time at Hogwarts. Known for his intelligence and remarkable memory, he can recall the details of every wand he has ever sold. He spends his time consumed by wandlore, and to that end he is also known for being rather quirky.
Ollivander’s extensive knowledge of wands and wandlore was coveted by Lord Voldemort, who ordered his kidnapping and subsequent confinement at Malfoy Manor during the Second Wizarding War. There, he was forced to make a wand for Peter Pettigrew, and was interrogated and questioned by Lord Voldemort about the twin cores of Harry’s wand and his own. He was also forced to provide his knowledge about the Elder Wand.
Luna Lovegood was a prisoner at Malfoy Manor at the same time, and she and Ollivander became friends during their imprisonment. After Dobby helped the prisoners escape to Bill and Fleur Weasley’s home, Shell cottage, Ollivander told Luna that she was an “inexpressible comfort” to him during their ordeal. Perhaps Ollivander found in Luna a kindred spirit, as she is also known for her quirkiness. After the war, Ollivander created a new wand for Luna as a token of friendship.
Since we do not know what became of Mr. Ollivander much past the end of the Second Wizarding War, and since magical folk can live remarkably long lives, let us imagine that he is still puttering around his dusty, beloved shop, passing his days with the work he adores.
Just minutes ago, J.K. Rowling quietly announced, by clanging her teaspoon against her mug of tea, on twitter, that the London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be made into two plays.
The first part is simply that–the first part of the story of Cursed Child, not a prequel. Many can assume that the plays splitting into two parts will closely resemble the splitting of Deathly Hallows into two movies–the “epic nature” of the novel was too great to fit into a single films (God forbid they would have cut hunting Deathly Hallows from the Deathly Hallows movie for the more important over arching story of hunting Horcruxes).
Pottermore was able to have a few questions answered from the creators of the play:
Bafta-winning writer Jack Thorne was elated by the chance to delve deeper into the wizarding world.
‘Obviously I loved it when we decided to tell this story in two parts,’ Jack tells us, ‘because I got to spend more time with the characters and what an honour that has been.
‘It continues to be unbelievable and amazing that I’ve been given this extraordinary chance to bring Harry Potter to the stage. As a fan, who just devoured the books and the films, this couldn’t be more exciting for me.’
I’ve never worked on anything quite like this before,’ he says. ‘Usually in theatre you’re adapting existing material or creating an entirely new play. With the Cursed Child we have been given the unique opportunity to explore some of the most cherished books and beloved characters ever written, yet work with J.K. Rowling to tell a story from that world that no one yet knows – it’s exhilarating.
‘It shares a scale and ambition with all the Harry Potter stories so in order to do this justice we have decided to present the play in two parts.’
The discovery that the story of Cursed Child would not fit into a single play came well into production of the show, due to hit the stage next year. We are sure more news of the play is to come as production continues. Stay tuned to Leaky (and Pottermore, I guess) for more news as it arrives.
J.K. Rowling retweeted an interesting interview this morning. It was a short question and answer segment with Robert Glenister–the voice of Cormoran Strike in J.K. Rowling’s good friend, Robert Galbraith’s novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and soon-to-be-released Career of Evil.
The interview was conducted by Mark Billingham, a well-known British mystery/thriller novelist. Billingham and Glenister discussed Cormoran Strike’s animated character, and how they were impressed by Galbraith’s “debut novel.” Glenister said he knew immediately he wanted to be the one to record the audio book for this mystery series upon reading Cuckoo’s Calling, before he knew who Galbraith was. The interview can be listened to here and below.
It has been known for a while that Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series was in the works to be adapted into a TV series. It has recently been confirmed that BBC1 is taking on this endeavor, and production for the first part of the series (based on The Cuckoo’s Calling) will begin later this fall.
According to Radio Times, this TV series shares many similarities with the adaption of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling will be an executive producer of this television production, as she was for Casual Vacancy. She has chosen to work with BBC, and the first part of the series, based on The Cuckoo’s Calling, will be written by Sarah Phelps who wrote the TV adaption of The Casual Vacancy.
The second part of the series, The Silkworm, will be adapted by Ben Richards, a TV writer most well known for Spooks. The third part of the series, which will be based on Career of Evil, has not been discussed. More will come to light after the novel is published this October.
A new microscopic invisibility cloak has been created!
This venture in science builds on previous cloaking experiments from 2006, 2012 and 2013. According to the source in Science (which you will need a subscription or institutional access to view), the new tested device is made of an extremely thin layer of rectangular light-scattering antennae blocks (like a microscopic skin), which adapts the shape of the object and hides it from detection with visible light by bouncing light off of the object like a mirror, rendering it ‘invisible’!
Scientists claim that this technology could be developed for military purposes to hide vehicles, aircraft or soldiers. However, at the moment the device is only available on a microscopic 3D scale.
From the International Business Times:
‘The test is the first time that a 3D object with bumps and dents has been hidden from visible light, said Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division of the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in a press release. He added that the ultra-thin cloak looks like a coat, which is easy to design and implement, that could potentially be developed for hiding larger objects.
However, Zhang said that the technology would take five to 10 years to be practical to use. The device uses metamaterials, different from natural materials, which can bend or curve the reflection of light by following the structure of the object being cloaked rather than its chemical composition.
“The fact that we can make a curved surface appear flat also means that we can make it look like anything else. We also can make a flat surface appear curved,” said Xingjie Ni, the study’s lead author and a professor of electrical engineering at the Penn State University.
Zhang also reportedly stated that this new device – unlike previous ventures – could be used to cloak people when developed further.
Harvey Wheaton – former chief of the ‘Harry Potter‘ video games – is now CEO of a new digital skills academy in Scotland, Codeclan.
He managed Electronic Arts’ Harry Potter games, has coached software development teams worldwide, and also helped launch SuperMassive Games.
Holyrood reports on Wheaton’s enthusiasm for CodeClan and the values it stands for:
“CodeClan embodies everything that I care about – technology, education, start-ups and Scotland – so I am delighted to be joining the team,” he said.
“Just now, the digital sector in Scotland is experiencing unprecedented growth, with the emergence of international brands like Skyscanner and FanDuel and ambitious start-ups launching every week. But if we don’t do something to bridge the digital skills gap in Scotland soon then the extraordinary growth we are seeing will be under threat.
“CodeClan offers practical help, a real solution to this problem, and it is a privilege to be part of this exciting venture.”
Wheaton will be launching CodeClan next month in Edinburgh. Join us in congratulating him on his new venture!
Today we wish Hermione Jean (Granger) Weasley a very Happy Birthday. Hermione is one of the brightest Witches of her time.
As a true heroine, Hermione not only fought valiantly in the Battle of Hogwarts, but she made the defeat of Voldemort possible. As Ron admitted once about Harry’s quest for Horcruxes, “we wouldn’t last two days without her.”
Hermione’s brilliance brought her back to Hogwarts to finish her education, and then on to becoming the Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement–holding one of the most important positions in Wizarding Government.
After completing school, Hermione married her Hogwarts-sweetheart, and long-time friend, Ronald Weasley. She then took on another important occupation: being a wonderful mother to her daughter and son, Rose and Hugo.
J.K. Rowling expressed her birthday wishes this morning, on Twitter, saying what the rest of us are thinking: we miss the character of Hermione.
Pottermore asked for all to share their favorite Hermione quotes. There are so many!
Please join us in wishing this wonderful character a very Happy Birthday–for the Wizarding World would not be the same without her!
Warner Bros. is planning another multi-million dollar expansion of its Leavesden studios in Hertfordshire, England, according to a report from The Guardian. The addition will enable the studios to better accommodate future large-budget films, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Improvements to the Harry Potter Studio Tour are also included in the expansion plan. As The Guardian reports, the Harry Potter film archive housed in the Leavesden studios has more than 5 million visitors each year, making it one of the most visited sites in Britain. All of this traffic doesn’t count the hundreds of people working on films there each day.
Warner Bros’ vision could give a major boost to employment and training in the UK. Some of the biggest productions employ anything up to 750 people on construction, with an average shooting crew of 250…One insider said of the backlot: “We think it’s the biggest in Europe. Some of the producers say it’s the biggest they’ve come across.”
This week is also “Harry Potter September Screenings” at the Studio Tour. Guests will be able to watch a Harry Potter film where it was made as part of their tour package.
Tickets must be pre-booked and are priced at £49 per adult and £41.50 per child. This includes entry to the Studio Tour, a foamy cup of Butterbeer, a film ticket, a hot snack, popcorn or sweets and a soft drink.
Screenings began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on September 19th, and will continue with a subsequent film each day this week, concluding with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, on Saturday, September 26th.
For more information about the Leavesden expansion, see The Guardian article, here; to learn more about “Harry Potter September Screenings,” see here.
This week, someone will own a piece of Harry Potter film history. Prop Store, a source for movie collectibles, will be holding its world-wide live auction on Wednesday, September 23rd. In August, Entertainment Weekly reported on the upcoming sale, and now, Moviefone and others have articles about it. Nearly 500 items related to film production, including props and costumes for numerous franchises and cult classics, will be sold. Three auction lots in the catalog this year are from the Harry Potter films.
The first item, #178, is a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie poster signed by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The auction catalog says, “This poster was acquired directly from a crew member who worked on location with the key cast members on the film.”
The second item, #179, is a Hogwarts acceptance envelope with its wax seal (that may or may not have a letter inside). It is one of the many envelopes in the scene where a tornado of owls and post swirls through the Dursley’s house.
“Made from marbled-effect paper, Harry’s address is printed in green on the front of the envelope with the Hogwarts crest printed on the reverse. This hero envelope features an actual red wax Hogwarts seal rather than the many printed envelopes that were also used in the scene. The envelope remains sealed with paper seemingly contained within,” says the auction catalog.
The third lot, #180, is two scarves given to crew members on the sets of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. They are both in Gryffindor house colors and have embroidered logos from the respective films. The Goblet of Fire scarf is in a color-block similar to Harry’s Triwizard Tournament uniform.
Wednesday’s auction will include a live webcast, and bids will be accepted in person, online, and by phone. Will someone finally get a Hogwarts acceptance letter?
To see the full catalog of items for sale, see here.
Like many of those in the Potter Universe, Rupert Grint is a big supporter of charities. This time he is showing support for those battling cancer, by contributing to a charity event called World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. The charity’s website states:
Catch up over a cuppa, enjoy some gorgeous treats – and the money you raise at your Coffee Morning will help us make sure no one has to face cancer alone. Sign up for your free Coffee Morning Kit, filled with everything you need to host a brilliant get together.
According to the site, last year’s fundraiser brought in over 25 million British pounds. You may sign up and donate to support the cause on the charities website. If you are in short supply of baking ideas, Rupert Grint has come to the rescue. Rupert showed his support by contributing a recipe to the site’s baking ideas. The recipe for Rupert’s Stem Ginger and Dark Chocolate Biscuits can be found on the website, here.
They look delicious.
The Ice Cream Man recommends doing so while watching the Celebrity Taste Makers episode starring Rupert Grint.
Emma Watson has been in Spain, promoting her new film projects–Regression and Beauty and the Beast. Emma will grace the covers of the ELLE Spain magazine for the October issue. In the magazine, she speaks of her work in the thriller, Regression. Some of the images from the October issue of ELLE Spain have made their way online. They can be seen here, and below.
In a new interview in Spain, she spoke out about Beauty and the Beast. The video can be seen below. It is the first time we have heard Emma speak openly about the film (though she said there is not much she is allowed to say). In the interview she said that there were new parts of the story that did not appear in the animated version of the film.
Thanks to SnitchSeeker for the heads up!
Please join us in wishing Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) a very happy 28th birthday!
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This morning Pottermore announced that the Pottermore site has been relaunched. With this exciting news, the released a video/audio message from J.K. Rowling introducing the new site. She calls Pottermore her “little writing corner” and the right place to come if “you need a little more magic in your life.” This message can be seen below.
Pottermore updated their twitter header this morning.
If you do not have time to take a trip to Pottermore.com right now, here are a few screen shots of the site, with a little explanation:
The Pottermore homepage is simply designed, with sparse wording and only three other groups of linked pages to access: Explore (top left corner), Read (middle homepage), and Menu (top right corner).
Hitting “Explore” in the top left corner of the homepage simply opens up a search engine. The engine works much like Google, it starts guessing what you are looking for as you start typing.
Opening the “Menu” in the top right corner leads to a sparse, self- explanatory menu. “Writings by J.K. Rowling” takes one to a page where they can read additional information not found in character profiles, or in writings of events from the books, found in “Explore the Story.”
Both of these sections highlight “Special Feature” articles. Today Pottermore is featuring “The Potter Family” in “Writings by J.K. Rowling,” which can be read here. Dolores Umbridge has been chosen as today’s feature in “Explore the Story,” which can be read here.
On the menu, “Feature” is a page dedicated to “Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the wizarding world, by the Pottermore team;” it includes articles such as “Romance in the Classrooms of Hogwarts,” “Designing Hogwarts Castle,” and “15 Times Harry Ruined the Dursleys’ Day.” The mashup of lists and articles makes this page like the Harry Potter Buzzfeed.
The newest page of the site, on the menu, is the “News” link. This page contains articles on the latest news in the Harry Potter world–much like what we at The Leaky Cauldron and our friends at MuggleNet have been doing for years. Whatever official news is posted on the Pottermore page, we will be sure to share it with you. Today’s articles are mostly about the new Pottermore pages. However, there is one called “Fantastic Beasts Movie Roundup,” which can be read here, dedicated to “everything we know so far” (and believe me, we already know it–we’ll be on the look out for breaking news).
Overall the sites design is fairly simplistic. Exploring Hogwarts has been completely removed, and the Sorting Hat quiz is no where to be found. The site features new additions to the Harry Potter universe already, namely images created by Jim Kay for the illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books (the first one to hit shelves October 6).
This breaking news is as exciting as it is disappointing. Some of us never had the chance to complete exploring Hogwarts along the time line of books, and wish that option was still available to us from a different corner of the site. Perhaps the quizzes will one day return–with a promise of a Patronus Test from J.K. Rowling, and the only real Sorting Hat quiz ever created.
Please visit the site and share your reactions with us. Happy exploring.