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Results 1 - 25 of 503
1. Fantastic Beasts Release New Poster and VidCon Teaser!

Fantastic Beasts will be in attendance at VidCon this year – one of the biggest fan conventions based around the power of online video, originally conceived by YouTube’s Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green.

In the run up to the convention, the film’s Facebook page released a brand new poster, featuring Newt Scamander, and a message teasing at something FANTASTIC set to occur at VidCon:

“A new piece of art to celebrate a new era of the Wizarding World! And stay tuned because something FANTASTIC at ?#?vidcon2016? is being announced soon… ?#?FantasticBeasts?

This new poster is absolutely beautiful – we can’t wait to see what they’ll be up to at VidCon! Watch the official trailer here!

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2. Rowling Annotates The Cursed Child

Pottermore has posted a quick video of annotations that J.K. Rowling made on the cast photo of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Pottermore further speculates what the annotations could mean. Some of the comments are directly related to the casting of Cursed Child.

“Loving Draco and Scorpius– They actually look related!”

Rowling is impressed at how much Anthony Boyle (Scorpius) and Alex Price (Draco) look like father and son. Rowling also adds some peace of mind for those that had their doubts about Ron and Hermione’s relationship.

“Still Going Strong”

She places these words directly above Ron and Hermione, connecting them. She also points out that Harry looks ‘burdened’. Even after all of these years Harry can’t seem to find peace?

“Harry looking suitably burdened”

Finally, one of the most ominous annotations from Rowling is about what isn’t pictured in this photo.

“The absences say as much as the presences”

In true J.K. Rowling fashion when she gives her fans a little hint she also creates hundreds of new questions. Who or what is missing from the photo? The epilogue of Deathly Hallows mentioned more children than are featured in this cast photo, could there be something to this statement?  I guess we will all soon find out what Rowling means. Some will find out via the stage show while others eagerly anticipate the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘s script. To read all of Rowling’s comments visit Pottermore.

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3. “I didn’t want to let fans down”: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne on Creating ‘Cursed Child’

Recently, BBC News interviewed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show-makers J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne on the making of the play.

Interviewer Will Gompertz starts by asking about the process of three people co-writing one play.  After many discussions between the three creators, the story of Cursed Child was fleshed out and ready for writing. John Tiffany explains:

‘We didn’t start writing the play – or Jack didn’t – until we’d agreed on what that story was.’

Jack Thorne then started on writing the script that is soon to be published in (script)book form.

‘Jack produced an amazing script’ Jo Rowling says in reply to his ‘very self-depricating’ remarks about attempting to write a script.

Rowling then comments on her concerns prior to the play being released to the public:

‘I don’t think I realised how anxious I was … I mean, this is putting me back ten years. Potter attracted a lot of madness, and a lot of hype, and going back to that place, I realised on Wednesday night how anxious that had made me, because I knew how much expectation there would be, and I didn’t want to let fans down.’

Gompertz then asks if there’s a sense that Jo doesn’t ‘own’ Potter anymore. After so many fan creations, so much theorising about her stories and characters, this is a good question to ask. The level of expectation put on J.K. Rowling to deliver the stories that we want as fans could make it seem like the stories are almost ‘owned’ by the fanbase, but Rowling thinks otherwise:

‘I wouldn’t go that far, Will’ Rowling shoots back, whilst Tiffany and Thorne chuckle knowingly.

‘Because, you know, that would be – and I’m deadly serious – that would be to disavow what that world was to me.

Seventeen years that world was mine, and for seven of those years it was entirely mine – not a living soul knew anything about it. I can’t just uproot that from all those personal experiences that inform those stories and say, “I’m throwing that away now”, and that’s how that would feel.’

Jack Thorne chips in, saying:

‘As a fan, you want it to be her world, not our world … it’s her world that we’ve been allowed to play in.’

Will Gompertz then remarks to Director John Tiffany that ‘Jack and Jo had it easy’ in comparison, as Tiffany’s job is to ‘make their imagination a reality on stage’. Tiffany responds:

‘It’s not all bells and whistles, it’s not all glitter guns and cannons. Actually, a lot of it is very very simple magic and illusion, and stage craft … there’s not really a huge amount that could go wrong’

After provoking what was almost a whimper of fear from Jo Rowling in that last comment, Tiffany explains his rather laid-back attitude:

‘We’ve done it very very carefully, so it’s not kind of a wing and a prayer.’

Gompertz asks Rowling whether she could imagine ever creating another world which had as profound an impact as the Potter world:

‘No’ She replies, ‘and nor would I want to. I feel as though I did that, and I love it. It takes up so much mental space, it takes up a lot of space in the world now. I think I would be on a fool’s errand to try and do that again’.

Be sure to watch the full interview at the BBC here. This interview followed  The Guardian’s interview with the trio prior to Cursed Child‘s opening this week (here), and the New York Times’ coverage of a roundtable discussion with the cast and crew of Cursed Child here.

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4. New House Banners of “Cursed Child”

As Leaky stated on all of its social media, we will be honoring J.K. Rowling and the cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s wishes to “Keep the Secrets.” We will not be reporting on any content of Cursed Child, but we will share any small details that Pottermore–J.K. Rowling’s website–deems acceptable to share. No spoilers.

Just as the curtains were rising for the first preview of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child earlier this week, Pottermore shared a photo of Rose Weasley standing in the middle of the Great Hall, during what appeared to be a sorting ceremony. Read more of Leaky’s report on that here.

In that photo, the world was presented with a new set of House banners! Pottermore tweeted today, revealing a clearer picture of these banners as concept art.

 

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Every house banner incorporates its mascot into the initial of its house, rather than using what became known as “Harry Potter font.” As expressed before, multiple times, the play is a continuation of the books, not the movies (movie canon differs from book canon). Because of this, it is not surprising the banners differ from the movies, but could potentially fulfill the description of house banners in the books.

 

However, the banners do not seem to support official house colors; unless, differing from both book and movie canon, the house colors are now different. Because book canon and movie canon differ, many fans know that Ravenclaw’s house colors are different in the films than in the books. Ravenclaw’s colors are blue and bronze by book canon, and blue and silver by movie canon. In the movies, the shades of the other house colors don’t stay true to for either. If these new banners are representing house colors, Gryffindor and Slytherin’s colors are the only set of colors that have remained mostly true to both book and movie canon.

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5. Please, No Spoilers!

J.K. Rowling has a message for the fans of Harry Potter, which she posted to her twitter this morning. In that video she asks that all of Harry’s fans stay spoiler free after seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2, so that as many people as possible will be able to enjoy the magic Rowling, Tiffany and Throne have in store for us fans.

 

Cursed Child being a play is a new media for the Potter fans, so as the limited numbers trickle in to see Cursed Child the rest of us are left to just wait our turns. So please do not spoil it for all of us.

This is especially important to someone like me who joined the Harry craze a few books in, so I know the travesty of finding out about a certain ministry workers family ties (still just a little bitter). So again, let’s all ban together and try to make this magic last forever. Cursed Child is starting preview shows now!

Check Out this amazing Interview with The Creators of Cursed child John Tiffany, J.K. Rowling, and Jack Thorne.

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6. J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne on ‘Cursed Child’ Opening TOMORROW!

Cursed Child is set to start preview performances tomorrow, and in the midst of J.K. Rowling, director John Tiffany and writer Jack Thorne preparing for their opening day, The Guardian spoke to them about their two years of collaboration on the project.

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Commenting on the ‘warmth and ease’ of the relationship between the three creators, writer Sarah Crompton says that the ‘friendship and ease between them bodes well for the collaboration that has sustained them for more than two years’.

We are reminded that this is the only interview the trio will give before the opening of the play. Jo recently tweeted a photo of a badge saying ‘#KeepTheSecrets’, which is the running message of the play’s promotion. In a recent backstage glimpse of the play (which you can watch here), the door to the rehearsals room bore a sign saying ‘Keep Calm and Keep the Secrets’.

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Jo also tweeted a video today, asking all seeing the preview performances and beyond to keep the secrets of the play under wraps, so not to ruin the story for those unable to see the play or those attending slightly later dates:

On keeping the secrets:

“I’ve been through this many times,” says Rowling. “And I hope we get there without any major spoilers, purely because people will have an amazing experience if they don’t know what’s coming.

“Generally speaking, Harry Potter fans are a community, they have each other’s backs, and they want to have that mystery and the sense of surprise. So we’re hopeful. But it won’t be the absolute end of the world. We’re not going to be throwing tantrums about it but we hope for the audience’s sake that we can get there.”

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Two weeks ago, The Guardian’s Sarah Crompton met with the trio, and Rowling understandably hadn’t been sleeping much:

“I’ve been awake since 4am … We were in the theatre last night and I saw a scene that’s very close to my heart, in costume, on the set And it was quite overwhelming” 

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Director John Tiffany is clearly no stranger to Jo’s amazement with the play:

“Jo has been around for a lot of the process,” Tiffany chips in. “A lot,” she agrees. “But last night was the first time I had been into the theatre and seen everything so fully realised. And it was… extraordinary.”

“We did a fist bump, didn’t we?” says Tiffany, smiling.

“Well, I tried to do a fist bump with you,” Rowling shoots back. “And you tried to shake it. So that wasn’t our coolest moment. But in fairness it was dark…” “And I am not known for my first bumps,” says the director. “Nor am I, really,” adds Rowling. “I just felt the moment demanded one.”

Talking about their nerves, Jo – the 4am riser – feels she could take a lot from Tiffany’s relenting composure. He says that his unshaken nerves were unexpected:

“If you had asked me a year ago how I’d be feeling today, I think I’d probably have said I would be crumbling biscuits in the corner. But I feel remarkably sane.”

“You are so calm,” Rowling interjects. “I am less calm.”

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The magic started in a meeting between J.K. Rowling and the play’s now-producer, Sonia Friedman – after speculating the idea and bringing in Tiffany and Thorne, Rowling was completely on board:

“You can probably imagine I have been asked to do something else with Harry Potter five times a week ever since the series ended. Sonia just wanted to explore a theatrical production and I knew her by reputation obviously and thought I would really like to meet her and hear what she had to say.”

On Tiffany and Thorne’s involvement:

“That’s the reason this happened because I thought I will never have the opportunity to work with such great people again,”

Of course, Jack Thorne is a self-proclaimed ‘total Potterhead':

“I still consider myself a Potterhead and I hope the Potterheads don’t hate me so much after this that I am never allowed to be one again.”

Yet Tiffany was unaware of this when he invited Jack to become writer of the play:

“He asked me when we met at the tube station on the way to The South Bank Show awards,” remembers Thorne. “So glamorous,” laughs Tiffany. “And so appropriate, the tube station,” adds Rowling mysteriously. Thorne continues: “And he said, ‘What do you think about it?’ And I went a bit nuts in the street. Only because I’m so incredibly shy, nobody would have seen or realised I was going nuts.”

In an amazing turn of events, Jo Rowling and John Tiffany revealed that they actually met informally years before. Jo was a single mother, writing The Philosopher’s Stone in Edinburgh Cafes, completely unaware of the phenomenon it would become:

One of her favourite haunts was the Traverse theatre, where Tiffany was assistant director. “It was one of the first places in Edinburgh you could have a cappuccino,” remembers Tiffany. “I was there meeting actors and writers a lot, and I remember seeing a woman writing, with a pram at her side. We got to saying hello and I remember once Jo said, ‘Do you mind if I’m here…’”

“Because I hadn’t bought a lot of coffee,” she explains, before Tiffany adds: “Then a year or so later I realised who it had been. And she didn’t come to the Traverse any more.”

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Jo says her and Jack Thorne are similar in many ways, making the bond between the three a lot easier to work with. They’re serious about the play, yet seemingly lighthearted, calm and honest in their approach to working with one another. Rowling seems to have completely entrusted her story to the two creators:

“Jack and I are similar in many ways,” says Rowling. “We’re both, notwithstanding how chirpy we are being right now, quite introverted people who are very happy alone in a room, and there are many parallels in our working practices and I felt like he was one of my tribe.”

“And we bonded over the haircut,” he adds, before asking her permission to tell the following story. “We were talking about the way people don’t realise quite how horrible age 10 is. That was the moment I realised it was possible I could never have friends. Other people would have friends and I never would. And I was talking about buying a coat: I bought the same coat as Matt Cox, who was a considerably cooler kid in the year and I had to wear it to school every day because my mum had bought it for me and it was the only coat I was going to get. He wore it a lot better and everyone thought I was copying him.”

He still shudders at the memory. Then Rowling adds, quickly: “And I had exactly the same experience. I had the same feather cut at 10 as Susan Hook. I went into school and everyone thought you are trying to be Susan Hook, you pathetic human being. We had exactly the same experience of being deeply uncool. And that’s what haunts you.”

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Tiffany and Thorne understand the power of stories to impact people in complex and important ways, and clearly know the role that Harry Potter has had on so many people’s lives:

“When you’re growing up it’s very easy to feel lonely and insecure,” says Tiffany. “And what Jo managed to capture, I think, was a world which made those people feel less lonely.”

Rowling explains why she took on the project, and trusted Jack with the writing:

“I never set out to build a big community, but I don’t think there is a writer alive who wouldn’t want to have that many people react to their work,” she says. “That’s what happened. People came inside the world with me.

This is why [Jack] is the right man for the job, because he just gets it. That’s pitch perfect. The big reason why people loved Potter was that it felt like it could be. That sense that there is more to the world. Just on the other side. Even within touching distance. There’s more. It is the promise of another world and it doesn’t have to be a magical world but to a lonely child or an insecure person or anyone who feels different or isolated, the idea of having a place where you do belong is everything.”

“From the moment he produced the first outline, I thought bingo, that’s it.

On whether she ever considered writing the play herself:

“I am not so arrogant that I think when you’ve got an absolutely top-class playwright offering to do it that I’m going to say, ‘Well, I’ve never done it before but I’ll do it.’ It’s a question of knowing the limits of your own competence. I was reasonably involved in the Potter scripts. I’m more familiar with that world. I felt a degree of confidence writing a screenplay but I had supreme confidence that Jack was going to write the play that I was going to love and he has. So you can’t ask fairer than that.”

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Later she comments on stage writing being a ‘revelation’ to her:

“It is a totally new language to me,” she says. “So watching Jack and what he can do on the page and his understanding on what will then translate on to stage has been such a revelation to me. I know novels and I know movies but this is a different world entirely. Jack has access to a paintbox that I don’t have because I don’t understand the medium.”

Thorne smiles. “To be honest, ever since I wrote Let the Right One In, I’d write something like, ‘They run through a forest and then are strung up on a tree and brutally murdered’. I’d just write it on a page and make John do it. And he does” 

The world of Harry Potter seemed silent to us for a long time – the play has returned the magic to us all in a new form, and Fantastic Beasts is introducing us to new elements in the world of magic that we’ve not encountered before. Rowling says that the stories never left her, even whilst she worked on The Casual Vacancy and Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels:

“It was 17 years and just because I’ve stopped on the page doesn’t mean my imagination stopped,” she says. “It’s like running a very long race. You can’t just stop dead at the finishing line. I had some material and some ideas and themes, and we three [she nods at Tiffany and Thorne] made a story.”

“But I carry that world around in my head all the time,” she acknowledges. “I am never going to hate that world. I love that world. But there are other worlds I want to live in too. To be perfectly honest, I just feel if I enjoy it, I’ll do it – and if I don’t, I won’t.”

“I always said never say never, and the reason I said that was truthfully that I did have this residue in my head in both directions – in Fantastic Beasts…, which is going back, and in this play, which is going forwards. So I still had this material in my head.

“It’s been amazing because there are roots over there and shoots over here, so it is keeping it very consistent and doing it all at the same time. We are sharing a lot between the worlds.”

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The medium chosen for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child intrigued us all – when we heard there would be an ‘eighth story’ many expected another book, some thought it would be a film – many were confused when the scriptbook was announced – it’s a method of storytelling that’s new to us all, but theatre has captured the imaginations of creators for centuries, so perhaps it is only fitting that one of the greatest stories of this century moves to the stage. Rowling explains the reasoning behind the process:

“I kept being asked whether I would make a musical and I don’t like musicals,” she says, grimacing. “Theatre, on the other hand, I love. I find it a seductive world – there is nothing like seeing an actor perform live. But I had never had anyone approach me or propose anything that excited me like this.

“I think that, as a theatrical experience, as a play, it will be unlike anything people have seen before. And once people have had this theatrical experience, they will understand why this was the perfect medium for the story.”

The play is an art form unlike any other, yet in this day and age it seems to be neglected – Rowling herself admits to never having considered its appeal before. Jack Thorne and John Tiffany are trying to bring it back with J.K. Rowling, in style:

“The phrase John hates more than any other is ‘I should go to the theatre more often’ because it contains the idea that going to the theatre is an obligation.” “Like eating your vegetables,” Rowling chips in. “Or going to church,” adds Tiffany. “And that,” continues Thorne, as if in three-part harmony, “is the death of theatre. This is an opportunity, I guess, to get people who don’t feel they should go to the theatre to go to the theatre, and then discover that they want to go to the theatre.”

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John Tiffany and Jack Thorne also unpack the reasoning behind Cursed Child being in two parts (as two separate plays):

“You would have had no space for character,” says Thorne. “It would just have been plot, plot, plot.”

Tiffany explains: ”Where film can eat up story, theatre needs space and breath. Once we thought of doing it in two parts, it felt naughty to begin with, but we felt we didn’t want to short change the story. We were very nervous up until the moment when the audience started to buy tickets, and the response was overwhelmingly fantastic, because the fear was that people would think we were just exploiting this. But it wasn’t that in any way, shape or form.” Rowling adds: “We had space to do what we were talking about doing.”

We’ve all seen the unsettling underbelly of Potter fandom rear its head in response to the casting of the Potter trio in Cursed Child – the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione in particular sparked an enraged response.

Some claimed that this casting was ‘against canon’, it was against the films, it was against the book covers, it was against descriptions of Hermione (as having ‘very brown’ skin in Chapter 4 of Prisoner of Azkaban, with her infamous brown ‘bushy’ hair), it was – apparently – just wrong. 

Perhaps these remarks did not come from a place of racism, or at least were not intended to come from such shallow places. Perhaps any move away from Emma Watson portraying Hermione would have been met with anger, perhaps people can’t understand that one medium of storytelling does not define another.

Hermione as played by Noma Dumezweni

Whatever the case, J.K. Rowling commented on the response with the truth: Noma plays Hermione Granger well and – in the author’s opinion – fits the character perfectly:

“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” she says. “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job. When John told me he’d cast her, I said, ‘Oh, that’s fabulous’ because I’d seen her in a workshop and she was fabulous.”

Unknown to Tiffany, when he made his casting call, there had in fact been a “black Hermione” theory around in Potterworld for years. Yet the strength of reaction surprised him. “I am not as Twitter familiar as Jo and Jack, so I hadn’t encountered its dark side, which is just awful,” he says. “The anonymity breeds horrors so after a while I stopped reading it. But what shocked me was the way people couldn’t visualise a non-white person as the hero of a story. It’s therefore brilliant that this has happened.”

Rowling settles the issue with a firm affirmation of Hermione’s state as a fictional character who can be interpreted in a variety of manners:

 “I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost colour from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”

The play will be ‘as purely as theatrical as possible’, according to Tiffany:

“Not a bombastic spectacle that makes people sit back,” he says. “It’s hopefully something that pulls you in. It is absurdly ambitious theatrically but it’s also about the audience and the imagination, which is exactly what a novelist does as well.”

Read the full Guardian interview here!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 start previewing tomorrow, June 7th, with the official opening of the play taking place on July 30th (alongside the release of the Cursed Child special rehearsal edition scriptbook). Forty low-cost tickets for performances will be released each week every Friday at 1pm – find out more at the play’s website here!

Furthermore, if you’re interested in attending Cursed Child Midnight book release parties on July 30th, find out more about GeekyCon’s exclusive event in Orlando here, and Barnes & Noble’s nationwide events here!

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7. Draco and Scorpius in Cursed Child Cast Photo

As promised Pottermore delivers their final cast photos for the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Tuesday we got a sneak peek at the Potter Clan, Wednesday we met the Granger-Weasley crew, and today we get our first look at the Malfoys.

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Alex Price will play the role of Draco and his son Scorpius will be played by Anthony Boyle.

As Scorpius Malfoy, Anthony looks the spitting image of his stage dad. J.K. Rowling said: ‘I love Draco and Scorpius – they actually look related!’

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Anthony Boyle is a long time stage actor. He is excited to play the role of Scorpius. He knew that it was really happening the day he died his hair blonde.

‘It was such a game changer,’ Anthony said of his new look. ‘As soon as I saw it, it was like, “Okay, I’m playing Scorpius Malfoy – this is real now.” That was such a big moment.’

Scorpius will be a big hit amongst the female students at Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling added,

‘I’ve got a feeling Scorpius is going to do nothing to turn girls off the Malfoy men.’

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Alex Price has been in several notable television shows in the UK. He came to the character of Draco wanting to make it his own while still honoring Rowling and her characters. In discussing how he is bringing Draco to the stage he stated,

‘Jack Thorne’s script. Start right there,’ Alex said. ‘And there’s obviously a massive history of books to draw on. You could tie yourself in knots worrying about it. But our first job is to serve this play and J.K. Rowling’s characters as best we can.’

As previews begin soon for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Pottermore has revealed multiple cast members this week. Visit Pottermore to see how these actors are handling the pressure of bringing to life this play.

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8. Ron, Hermione, and Rose in Cursed Child Cast Photos

Yesterday Leaky reported on the first cast photos from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, revealing a family portrait of Harry, Ginny, and Albus. Today Pottermore has provided us with more cast photos, this time of the Granger-Weasley Family.

This is a family portrait of Ron (Paul Thornley), Hermione (Noma Dumezweni), and Rose (Cherelle Skeete).

Ron (Paul Thornley), Hermione (Noma Dumezweni), and Rose (Cherelle Skeete).

‘It’s 19 years later when the play begins,’ Paul explained. ‘Ron is married to Hermione Granger and they’re now the Granger-Weasleys. Our magnificent daughter Rose Granger-Weasley is about to start at Hogwarts, which is obviously a big day for everyone.’

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Paul Thornley will be playing the role of Ron. Rowling reveals that Ron hasn’t changed much since his days at Hogwarts.

 ‘Ron in his forties isn’t very different from Ron in his teens, except that his feet hurt a bit more. Paul’s so funny and brilliant in the role.’

Hermione as played by Noma Dumezweni

As previously reported Noma Dumezweni will play the role of Hermione. Rowling is excited about the casting of Noma as Hermione and claims she understands her character “inside out”.

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Cherrelle Skeete has been cast in the role of Rose Granger-Weasley. While Rowling didn’t reveal much about Rose’s character she provided some interesting details.

 ‘Rose is like her mother, but more secure, more grounded. She was born to wizards and knows her place in the world. Cherrelle plays her perfectly: bossy but deeply loveable.’ 

These cast photos have given us a glimpse at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child visit Pottermore to learn more about what the actors have to say about their characters and the play itself. Also, Pottermore will be revealing more cast photos tomorrow. It is exciting to see this play come to life!

 

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9. J.K. Rowling: ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ WILL Make You Cry!

This morning, one Potter fan on Twitter had a very important question for J.K. Rowling: ‘Will the Cursed Child make me cry?’

J.K. Rowling tweeted back pronto, and now it’s official: if you don’t cry, they haven’t done their job right!

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With preview performances starting next month, we’ll be able to test Jo’s statements and confirm whether the play is a tear-jerker. We have absolutely no doubts that we’ll be sobbing through the entire show (and scriptbook)!

Take a look behind the scenes with J.K. Rowling here!

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10. Guest Post: Lara Herrington Watson on Analyze This: A Grammatical Breakdown of Favorite First Chapters

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By Lara Herrington Watson
@lashwatson
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

As I finished writing my second YA novel, I worried that my writing was getting stagnant.

What if I was learning bad habits that I would repeat through all of my future novels?

In order to glean some knowledge about my writing, I completed grammatical analyses on the first chapters of works by some of my favorite authors (Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Barbara Kingsolver, David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, and J.K. Rowling), and on my own novel.

I calculated percentages of sentences that begin with a subject, adverb, etc. I also looked at percentages of sentence type used: fragments, complex sentences, etc.

Here’s what I learned:

When reading your manuscript straight through for errors, highlighting different parts of speech individually (nouns, verbs, adverbs…) is an excellent editing method. This is how I started the project, and while it didn’t teach me much about my writing, scanning it piecemeal made the text pop in a different way. I discovered a dozen small errors and typos that I and my writing group had not yet found (in the first 50 pages alone).

Simplicity is okay. Forty-five percent of all my sentences are simple. I start 63 percent of my sentences with subjects. At first I was sure this was too high. But these numbers are actually pretty average compared to my favorite authors.

Levithan had the highest percentages of simple sentences and of sentences beginning with subjects (65%), but his writing is still some of the most poetic, jazzy, and prismatic writing I’ve read. Maybe this is because of the many gorgeous participial phrases in the middle or at the end of his sentences.

Similarly, Rowell’s writing gets more interesting (lots of fragments composed of participial phrases) whenever the protagonist waxes nostalgic about his girlfriend. Much like Levithan, her fragments make seemingly small, subtle emotional steps that work.

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Austen had the second highest percentage of fragments (Blame Mrs. Bennet’s blathering about Bingley.). Austen also uses the smallest range of tools for sentence starters, yet she scores fairly high in her use of complex sentences.

Complexity is also okay. One myth among young writers is that long sentences are always run-on sentences. This is untrue.

Take Hemingway, who is surprisingly complex. Because of his reputation as a straightforward, clear writer, I expected him to score high in fragments, but he had the least of anyone: only 2.2%.

His complex sentences were also the most complex of any I analyzed. Compared to writers like Levithan and Rowell, Hemingway often covers more ground (years, literally) with longer, more complex, and exceptionally clear sentences.

Use a range of tools. As far as sentence starters, Rowling definitely uses the widest range of tools. It’s probably not a coincidence that her varied writing has captivated children and adults alike.

Don’t focus too much on statistics. Initially, I thought that the best writing would have the greatest variation. But some sentence starters and structures work better depending on the author’s voice and the novel’s contents; Hemingway and Kingsolver, for example, punctuate their long, complex sentences with short, punchy ones. This may not make the most interesting graph, but it sets their voices apart and makes for great fiction.

My sample size is admittedly small. I’m only looking at first chapters, and there’s plenty more to learn. But my brain hurts from too much data entry, and the boarding school from my third novel beckons.

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11. J.K. Rowling One of Britain’s Most Charitable, Galbraith up for Crime Award

As we have come to know over the years, J.K. Rowling has a big heart. Since becoming the most financially successful author in history, J.K. Rowling has also become one of the most philanthropic celebrities–never forgetting the humbleness and humility to serve those in need.

The Guardian reported on Britain’s most philanthropic celebrities in terms of donations made this past year, and not surprisingly, J.K. Rowling topped the list. The Guardian reports:

 

“Sir Elton John and JK Rowling have been revealed as Britain’s most benevolent celebrities, with each donating a large proportion of their fortune to charities.

“John gave £26.8m to charity last year, mainly to his Aids foundations in Britain and the US which he established in 1992. Rowling donated £10.3m, according to the Sunday Times.

“The writer’s charities of choice were the Lumos Foundation, her own charity aimed at closing down all child institutions and orphanages around the world by 2050, as well as the Volant Charitable Trust, which raises money to alleviate social deprivation and for research into multiple sclerosis, which killed Rowling’s mother.”

 

In addition to her generosity, Jo is also made headlines for what Jo does best–writing. J.K. Rowling’s closest “friend,” and the Potter world’s favorite crime writer, Robert Galbraith has been added to the long list of 18 finalists for the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award for Galbraith’s latest novel, Career of Evil. Galbraith and Rowling are listed with one of the pair’s closest crime-novelist friends, Val McDermid, who is also a former recipient of the award.

The long list of nominees included well-established writers, as well as many debut novelists. Many in the running agree that the debut novelists keep already well-known writers on their toes, exhibiting equal if not greater talent. The Guardian reported on J.K. Rowling’s  praise of last year’s winner, a debut novelist, reporting:

 

“Harrogate International Festivals literary manager Gemma Rowland said the list demonstrates how “even the giants of the genre are constantly kept on their toes, with debut voices as serious contenders”.

“Rowland pointed out that last year’s winner was Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin. “It really shows whoever wins this year will know they’ve been pitted against the biggest talent at work today,” she said.”

 

The winner of the award also receives a cash prize of £3,000, which we assume Galbraith and Rowling will come to an agreement on where to donate the prize if they win. Galbraith will probably pull for amputee war veterans, and Rowling will probably agree. They make such a great pair.

The Gaurdian included the long list of nominations which can be read here.

 

 

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12. J.K. Rowling Designs New Wands for Trio

This morning, J.K. Rowling tweeted from London. After being up all night with a “Robert-related brainwave” that made the insomnia worth it, our tired beloved author made her way to Cursed Child rehearsals.

 

After arriving at rehearsals, Jo released to her fans on twitter a sketch she had drawn for the play. A sketch of new wand designs for the Trio (Harry, Ron, Hermione), Draco, and Ginny.

 

Now, before everyone gets their panties in a bunch, I’ve been thinking about this for the last few hours, and once again Jo is not breaking canon, though that initially may appear to be the case. 

As much as we love to movies, Jo’s canon resides primarily in her books. Hermoine may be white in the movies, but according to the books she can be any ethnicity or nationality the reader imagines–and often the ethnicity the reader most identifies with. (Before all of you start pointing to chapter 21 in Prisoner of Azkaban, “white face” is a euphemism for scared. Chapter 4 of the same book reads, “They were there, both of them, sitting outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor — Ron looking incredibly freckly, Hermione very brown, both waving frantically at him.” She could be tanned, or she could be naturally darker skinned. Arguably, Hermione can be any race–it’s never directly specified. Does it really matter? NO.)

The wands described in the books give readers the wood and core materials and the length. Nothing is mentioned about design. In the first two Harry Potter films, Chirs Columbus opted to make everyone’s wands fairly similar in design. Alfonso Cuaron first brought uniquely designed wands to the films in Prisoner of Azkaban. Whether you love or hate the third movie, it was revolutionary with how the Potter books were portrayed on film, and did deviate from Jo’s world (though Jo did give her approval on the variations).

The materials of the five wands are still the same, as well as the length. For the first time, we are seeing the wands of the five main characters as Jo envisioned them.

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13. Katherine Waterston talks to Pottermore about her role as Tina in ‘Fantastic Beasts’!

The ever-mysterious Pottermore Correspondent managed to sneak in an interview with Katherine Waterston, on the set of Fantastic Beasts. She ‘perfectly inhabits’ the character of Tina Goldstein, according to Pottermoreand we can’t wait to see for ourselves the level of talent David Yates clearly saw in her:

‘We were standing in the pouring rain with David Yates and I asked him about the casting process,’ I [the Pottermore Correspondent] tell Katherine, wondering if she knows. ‘David said he got Eddie Redmayne to read with so many actresses but he knew immediately that you were Tina. That you had such perfect chemistry and it had to be you.’

‘Oh! Oh, really?’ she says, genuinely incredulous and in her soft American accent. ‘That’s too nice. I bet he was like, “Don’t tell her that, it’ll go to her head!” Oh, he’s such a dear man. He brings so much joy to the set, but the real thing that trickles down from the top is his faith in this process because he’s been in this world before.’

Yates has also been at work on The Legend of Tarzan, and knows the Potter series well after directing the last four movies, so he is well versed in leading great actors – we’re confident he’s found something special in Waterston!

Katherine says that Yates has been a huge help on set, and clearly has a passion for his work and J.K. Rowling’s world:

‘Usually on a movie, you’re going into new territory together and you’re like, “Is there quicksand around the corner, are there going to be wolves attacking?” Whereas David’s been here before so he’s just like, “You’re going to take a left here and avoid the quicksand”. 

‘He has a shorthand and a comfort with the world. He’s not precious with it, he understands what it needs and what it doesn’t need and there’s something really comforting in that.’

 ‘When we’re incorporating things that aren’t actually there, to look at David and know he can see the world is… everything,’

‘It’s sort of like when your parents read you a book when you’re a kid; if they read it with passion and curiosity, you can see the whole world.’

When asked by the Pottermore correspondent what she thinks of Rowling’s world, and how she feels about the script, Katherine gives us some great insight on the film’s tone. ‘Tender’, ‘slightly English’ and ‘beautiful’, but more interestingly, the film is reportedly ‘rooted in truth':

‘Ah, this movie. It’s so clever and it’s rooted in truth. It’s got light, funny elements and then much darker, more adult elements. I normally don’t respond so well to innocent lovely things, I think, “come on, let’s get on with it”. But there’s something about this script and the way J.K. Rowling writes; it’s tender without being saccharine. It never lingers on the sweet parts but maybe that’s a slightly English thing: “Oh I felt something – moving on!” No, really, it’s a beautiful film. It’ll kill me to finish filming it.’

Read the full interview with Katherine Waterston over at Pottermore here.

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14. British Secret Intelligence Agency Helped Protect Harry Potter

Back before 2007, when Harry Potter books had yet to be published, the need to protect the unread Harry Potter plot skyrocketed. There have been many reports in the past that describe the security measures taken to keep unpublished Harry Potter books a secret. Little did we know, that security even stretched to GCHQ, a British secret intelligence agency.

Last week, Bloomsbury’s Nigel Newton revealed this security measure taken for Harry Potter on an Australian podcast. (You may listen and download the podcast here.) Since then, the Harry Potter news world, especially around Britain, has been abuzz at this revelation. The BBC reported on what was said in the podcast interview, writing:

 

Mr Newton told Australia’s ABC Radio the publisher regarded keeping the plot secret as very important saying: “If newspapers splashed ‘Dumbledore dies’ what pleasure is there going to be for a kid reading it? The enemies stood to ruin a great deal of pleasure for the world.”

It led Bloomsbury to bring in extra security guards and dogs to patrol the press where the books were being printed and help stop any leaks.

“We fortunately had many allies,” Mr Newton said. “GCHQ rang me up and said, ‘We’ve detected an early copy of this book on the internet’. I got them to read a page to our editor and she said, ‘No, that’s a fake’. We also had judges and the police on our side.

[GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is a secret intelligence agency which monitors electronic communication to prevent terrorism and tackle serious and organised crime.]

“It was completely mad and we were at the eye of the storm – I remember Jo Rowling phoning me once after she had delivered a new book saying, ‘please will you release the name of the title because I have people outside searching my trash can looking for bits of paper’.

“We had to go into a complete security lockdown because people were trying to steal the manuscript.”

Mr Newton also claimed a tabloid newspaper sent a reporter with £5,000 in cash to circle the printing press and offer workers money to steal a copy.

 

The Harry Potter series is one of the most well known book series in the world, and has had a huge impact on culture, extending beyond the realm of literature. Sometimes it even needed the help of secret services to thrive. After the news of their involvement went viral, GCHQ released a statement saying, “We don’t comment on our defence against the dark arts.”

 

 

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15. Fusenews: In my next life I’m coming back as a “Rotraut”

A lot to say and so little time to say it.  Let’s get started!


 

LittlePrincessToday, if you are at all feeling blue, I suggest you read The Toast piece Jaya Catches Up: A Little Princess which is a killer breakdown of what is inarguably a problematic book.  The Marie Antoinette portions are particularly choice.


 

Next, the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners were announced. What does that mean for you? It means you should be boning up on your international children’s book knowledge, of course.  Commit the names “Rotraut Susanne Berner of Germany” (who won for Illustration) and Cao Wenxuan of China (who won for Writing)” to memory. For more info on the books and the winners, go here.


 

If you were speaking to the man on the street (or woman, or child, or what have you) and they said, “Boy, those children’s books took the hardest left turn a series ever took”, what series would you assume the person was speaking about?  Here is your answer and it’s a heckuva amusing post to boot.


 

Seven Impossible Things features Gareth Hinds.  And all is right with the universe.


 

Lonely_Doll_CoverOh. In a weird way this makes sense.  They’re turning The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, the biography of Dare Wright, creator of the Lonely Doll book series, in to a film with Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Lonely Doll fever is poised to sweep the nation.  Be wary. Be warned.  And buy stock in frilly underwear.


 

Remember when J.K Rowling said she had this “political fairytale” that was going to be her next non-Harry Potter children’s book?  Looks like it’s kaputski.  Which is to say, about 30 years after Ms. Rowling’s death someone will pull it out of that drawer and publish it anyway.  So it goes.


 

This next one’s roundabout three years old but I only just found it.  The mom from the Cat in the Hat finally speaks.  Quite frankly, I always found that polka-dotted dress of hers rather fetching (to say nothing of her keen shoes) but that may just be me.


 

If you had the great good fortune to see the NYPL exhibit The ABC of It then you would have noticed one section was dedicated to a fascinating array of Soviet children’s art.  I remember helping curator Leonard Marcus locate these books (of which NYPL owns a goodly number) and he picked and chose the best amongst them.  But where did they originate?  Having recently finished M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead, I took the little bit of context I’d acquired and applied it to this fabulous piece on tygertale called Revolutionary Russian Children’s Books. Now I’m just beginning to understand. Thanks to Phil Nel (I’m pretty sure) for the link.


 

Growing up my mom had a machine in the attic that could type out braille.  I don’t know why we owned it but I liked it a lot. Braille children’s books available in a mass market context have always been difficult to obtain, though.  With this in mind, I’m very pleased to see DK is now releasing a braille board book series.  Wow.  Way to go, DK!


 

All right.  My four-year-old is upstairs asleep and in her room are all my Harry Potter books.  Otherwise I would check this myself.  You see, they just released the first look of the new Jim Kay illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  And I am staring and staring at this cover and I need your help.  Look at the cover right here:

HPChamber

Am I crazy or is that car chock full of Weaselys?  And doesn’t Harry drive to Hogwarts with just Ron?  At least that’s what the old British cover told me:

HPChamber3

So . . . huh?  [Note: Interestingly the Buzzfeed article has plenty of comments but no one is pointing this out so I may just be completely and utterly wrong about everything]


 

In other news, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy longlist was just released.  Frances Hardinge made the cut!!!  Wooty woot woot woot!!

Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)


 

Oh, I absolutely love this. Children’s art.  Not art for children, mind you, but art by children and its ramifications when studying history.  Again, I think I have Phil Nel to thank for this one.  He finds all the good stuff.


Daily Image:

The Make Way for Ducklings statues are nothing new (nor are they the only ducklings as my old post on all the public children’s literature statues in America attests).  Nor is it new to put hats on them.  That said, this recent yarnbombing goes above and beyond the call of duty.  That’s some seriously good knitting!

DucklingsYarnBomb

Read more about them here.

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12 Comments on Fusenews: In my next life I’m coming back as a “Rotraut”, last added: 4/14/2016
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16. Tom Felton and Warwick Davis on Theme Parks, ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and ‘Cursed Child’

Adding to the torrent of great interviews from the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood this week, SnitchSeeker have posted interviews with Tom Felton and Warwick Davis,  on which attraction they think should be added to the park.

Tom Felton stayed loyal to his character, saying he’d love to see Malfoy Manor, and even said he’d agree if he was asked to be involved in the process of making it!:

I would like to see Malfoy Manor – obviously a bit biased there. I think it would maybe make a good ghost house or some sort of like spook train or whatever. There’s enough dark sides of that house to scare any child, I think. Yeah, there’s more look forward to. Something tells me this isn’t the end of it.”

On Fantastic Beasts, Tom Felton was confident that the newest venture in the cinematic Wizarding World will live up to Potter fans’ standards:
SnitchSeeker: What are your thoughts about the Fantastic Beasts series? What are you hoping to see, as a fan, as part of the series?
Tom:
 No expectations. I haven’t thought about it. I know it’s the dream team. You’ve got Heyman, Yates and Rowling back together, so they can’t really do much wrong, I don’t think. I have every faith in their ability to convert Jo’s work to the best of their abilities. I just think it’s exciting that she’s keeping the flame going, in a different sense. She’s creating more content.

SnitchSeeker: What would be your advice to that cast, just coming into this fan base, for Eddie Redmayne and everybody else?
Tom:
 I don’t think they need to take advice from us. We don’t share any similarities, really. At 9 and 10 years old, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. They know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. And Eddie’s an Oscar-winning actor. The last thing he needs is advice from me.

Tom also spoke about his career choices, and projects he’s currently involved in:

SnitchSeeker: What do you have coming up, project-wise?
Tom:
 Something released? A few things this year. There’s an animation film called, Sheep & Wolves, there’s a British spy film called, Stratton and a film that I just did with Troian Bellisario, an American drama called, Feed. I have no idea when any of these films will be out, but I know they will be at some point. This year’s going to be mostly commercial.

SnitchSeeker: You pick so many different projects. How do you choose them? What motivates you?
Tom:
 Just people. I don’t particularly go for character or story. I mean, it all plays a part, but I’m more interested in working with people that I get on well with. I don’t consider the outcome to be the reward or the result. I just purely base it on my experience, and what comes out of it is really neither here nor there to me. If the Harry Potter films were a complete failure, I still would have loved them as much as I did. So yeah, just enjoying the experience.

Watch SnitchSeeker’s video of the interview below, and read the full interview here.

Warwick Davis also told us what he’d add – he takes a dark route, similar to Tom – it’d definitely be interesting to see some sort of haunted mansion-esque ride with the darker places in the Wizarding World featuring somehow!:

SnitchSeeker: If you had a voice in how to expand the Wizarding World here or in Orlando or even Japan, what would you like to see come to life?
Warwick:
 I would like to see Azkaban. I’m intrigued about what goes on in Azkaban. We hear about it but we never really get a chance to see in Azkaban. So I think that’d be interesting.

SnitchSeeker: How would you envision it?
Warwick:
 A dark experience, wouldn’t it be? It’d be spooky, kind of like a Haunted Mansion-type thing that they have at Disneyworld. You go through and it’s one of those exploratory rides that takes you through. Lots of shocks and stuff, and really into special effects.

Speaking on Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child (which Warwick admitted he’d love to have a part in),  Davis seems just as excited as Tom, with all the trust in Jo Rowling and Jack Thorne to give us amazing stories, and links this to the abilities of the theme park to add to the Potter stories in ways we’d never imagined:

SnitchSeeker: So Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child, it’s basically a new chapter in the entire Wizarding World. What are your thoughts on it – starting with Fantastic Beasts?
Warwick:
 Fantastic Beasts will, I believe, give us another glimpse into the Wizarding World J.K. Rowling’s imagined. That’s quite exciting, isn’t it? It’ll be a slightly different perspective of that world. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.

SnitchSeeker: Have you poked J.K. Rowling to get her rolling there? Because we know there are goblins in Fantastic Beasts?
Warwick:
 You don’t know who to drop hints to, these days. I used to do that with Star Wars. That was my old trick. If there’s a character, I would hope that they would ask me to do something. As I said, I’m just excited that they’re actually going to make some more stuff that gives us another look into that world. 

As do things here in the Wizarding World. Forbidden Journey is a chance to experience further adventures – something you don’t see in the movies. So all of this stuff expands on it. The play in London will also do a little bit more of that, as well. It’ll be a slightly different glimpse into the world.

SnitchSeeker: So what advice would you give to the actors in Fantastic Beasts, as somebody whose been surrounded by millions of fans over the years? They’re about to hit that, as well.
Warwick:
 They’re certainly going to find it an interesting experience. And one I should imagine they’re preparing themselves for because, obviously, when we made the first Harry Potter film we knew the books were really successful, there were two books out at that point. 

We never had a concept of how successful the movie was going to be. And then the fact that we were going to go and make eight in total. So at this point I imagine they actually have some idea like, “Yeah, this could be pretty huge, this.” But, you never can tell, but they’re always going to be known for being cast members in Fantastic Beasts. That’s what’s going to happen.

In terms of projects he’s working on, Warwick is very secretive – SnitchSeeker try to get us some hints, but to no avail, unfortunately! We look forward to the eventual revealing of his role in films to come:

SnitchSeeker: So what’s coming up for you, project-wise?
Warwick:
 I’m in loads of stuff at the minute. Much of it I can’t talk about, which is a shame, but rules of secrecy exist quite prominently in the film industry now. There’s lots of exciting things, but stuff I can’t talk about. Sorry.

SnitchSeeker: Possibly back in Star Wars?
Warwick:
 Again, I couldn’t talk about it.

Again, see SnitchSeeker’s interview with Warwick below, and read the full interview with him here.

Catch more with Tom, Warwick and other Potter actors from the event here and here!

 

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17. Evanna Lynch on Zombies, Warwick Davis on ‘Cursed Child’ and More From The Wizarding World in Hollywood!

The red carpet event celebrating yesterday’s grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood took place on the 5th April.  Leaky fans were on the ground covering the event, which you can read about here, but of course there are more interviews with the Potter cast than we can count!

Here are some of the best below:

Entertainment Weekly sought after the actor’s questions for J.K. Rowling since the series finished filming.

James and Oliver Phelps wanted to know what happened to George after Fred’s death:

OLIVER: I think with George, it would probably be what does he do with the company. Like, does he expand it? Or does he just keep it as homage to his brother? Or does he go, we’re going to open it up elsewhere?

JAMES: Did he franchise it?

Oliver Phelps came up with a great theory regarding Fred’s ultimate fate, which he told Seventeen:

“I think he’d dive into the family business even more and try to make it even better in Fred’s memory, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fred was a ghost in the shop.”

Tom Felton told Entertainment Weekly that he missed Draco, and had endless compliments for J.K. Rowling regarding the character:

There’s a beautiful understanding between him and I, I think. I miss him. I miss him a lot. But Jo has such a wonderful way of making these characters so rich and full anyway. I suppose all the things that I don’t know are assumed. But I also know that Jo is an endless wealth of knowledge so if I ever have anything that was puzzling me, I know she’d be more than happy for me to ask her. You’ve got me picking my brains now. I’ll have to message her tomorrow.”

Evanna Lynch obviously had the most questions about Luna – being a huge fan of the books, she wanted to know more about Luna’s family:

I think the big blank is her mom. I’ve always wondered what she’s like. We’ve just been told her name is Pandora and that she died doing an experiment, and I just wonder, I really am curious what was her relationship with Luna? Because obviously she’s so close to her dad, and I find that there’s always one parent that you have more in common with or that you confide in more, and I wonder … was that her mom? Or just what kind of person she was.”

Make sure you catch the full article from Entertainment Weekly here.

You can also read a hilarious exclusive interview with Tom Felton playing ‘Marry, Snog, Stupefy’ with Bustle here, and a snippet from the interview below:

“When given three names of Harry Potter characters, Felton must choose which he’d most like to marry, snog (kiss), and stupefy, which, according to Harry Potter wiki, to stupefy someone means to “render a victim unconscious and/or halt moving objects.” So basically, it’s a less morbid version of the “kill” option most muggles are accustom to.

But before I can give him three options, Felton declares: “I’d snog Bellatrix.” …. I remind him of the rules — I give you the three options, Tom — and we begin.”

MSN also spoke to Evanna Lynch, about the roles she is currently looking for, which appear to steer away from ‘darker’ roles in shows such as The Walking Dead:

“I really just want to do characters a I really love,” Lynch told AAP on the red carpet at the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in California.

“There are other scripts that come along and I see them but I don’t really have the passion unless I connect with the character.

“I am sick of zombie movies, all these things about undead people. I want things that make the world lighter rather than scarier.

“Everyone says it’s so good but I hate zombies and that kind of violence.”

She also commented on J.K. Rowling’s constant development of the wizarding world – which we know she is excited about and understandably wanting to be involved in! Evanna spoke about what she’d like to see from any sequels involving Luna:

“She (Rowling) has created another world and made it so rich and varied and interesting and I feel like it will never end,” Lynch said.

“I’d love if she did a sequel, I would love to know more about Luna and I feel like there is a lot more to explore.

“I would love a wildlife show with Luna and a documentary series.”

Read the MSN interview in full here.

She revealed her thoughts on whether she thought the pairing of Neville and Luna should have gone any further to Movie Pilot:

“Definitely not. I think he’s very much a homebody, a stay-at-home dad. And Luna wants to go out and explore the world and different creatures, and I think she wants to have several different relationships and not be committed forever. Neville would want a good sturdy wife who cooks, and that’s not her.”

Evanna also gave Extra a VIP tour along with James and Oliver Phelps, which you can view below:

Warwick Davis also attended the event, and spoke to Hollywood Life about the how he’d feel about appearing in Cursed Child. Of course, he’d be more than thrilled:

“To be back in something that has been created by J.K. Rowling and something that goes on to have a life beyond that is exceptional and it would be lovely to do that!”

“I love performing, I am an actor. This is what I love doing So however I manage that and have that manifest itself is a great pleasure!”

He also revealed his aspirations for TV:

“It would be to have a chat show, I mean that is my last bucket list to take on”

“I have done everything else in my career that I have wanted to take on and what I want to do but the chat show still remains elusively something that I would still love to do and a thing that I think I could do very well!”

Read the full interview at Hollywood Life here.

SnitchSeeker also caught up with James and Oliver Phelps to ask them about the theme parks, and about the newest ventures into the wizarding world (Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child). They posted a video of the interview (below), and you can catch their transcript here.

Make sure you catch our full coverage of the event at this link!

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18. J.K. Rowling’s Chair Auctions for Nearly $400,000

Last month, when Leaky reported that the chair J.K. Rowling sat on writing the first two Harry Potter book as a struggling single mother, the opening auction price was $45,000. It was sold for $394,000 at the auction earlier this week. Yes, nearly $400,000 for that little magical chair.

The seller of the chair, Gerald Gray, said that he would donate 10% of the proceeds to J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos. Long ago, J.K. Rowling originally auctioned off the chair to benefit charity and Mr. Gray felt called to contribute to a cause. Lumos was gifted nearly $40,000 in donations from the chair alone.

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The Belfast Telegraph reported on the auction, saying:

The chair was auctioned twice before – once by J. K. Rowling to benefit charity.

The seller, Gerald Gray, of Worsley, Greater Manchester, said the winning bid far exceeded his expectations.

“I plan to donate 10% to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, because that’s what she did in the first place,” said Mr Gray, a businessman who runs a vehicle speed control equipment company in Manchester, and in Sarasota, Florida, called AutoKontrol.

He said he would like to see the new buyer display it somewhere where children could see it, perhaps in a museum or theme park.

He bought the chair in 2009 after his daughter, a Harry Potter fan, saw it on eBay.

 

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Heritage Auctions, who hosted the auction of the chair, uploaded several images of the chair and wrote a lengthy description of it, saying:

A few years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the chair was donated to a small auction in 2002 called Chair-ish a Child in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). However, it was something that according to Rowling herself would have been “purchased from a junk shop for a tenner.” Rather than selling it in its original form, Rowling used gold, rose, and green paints to transform the chair into a magical piece of literary memorabilia.

On the stiles and splats, in gold and rose colors: “You may not / find me pretty ~ / but don’t judge / on what you see.”

Rowling signed the backrest in the gold and rose paints. Then along the apron of the seat: “I wrote / Harry Potter / while sitting / on this chair.”

For comparison, a handwritten manuscript of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2007 and purchased by Amazon.com for nearly $4 million, benefiting Rowling’s own charity, Lumos.

An incredible representation of a woman’s against-all-odds struggle to share her creative vision that is distinctly connected to and passed on by Rowling herself. This ordinary chair turned beautiful art piece is an incredible physical manifestation of a woman’s transformation into the modern world’s foremost literary figure. A small piece of history connected to the mythology of the Wizarding World and one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature: Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

 

The entire description of the piece, and more photos of it, may be read here . A video created about the chair, created for the auction, can be seen below.

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19. 5 Middle Grade Books to Love | Selected by Sarah Dooley, Author of Free Verse

It’s always difficult to narrow down the teetering pile of “Books I Loved” and the tottering pile of “Books to be Read” to a manageable number. Here are just a few middle grade novels author Sarah Dooley loved, and a few more she's looking forward to reading.

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20. “Cursed Child” Producer Talks how the Harry Potter Play Came to be

Incredibly successful, Tony-award winning, Olivier-award winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer, Sonia Friedman, sat down for an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Kirsty Lang. The two talked of how the Harry Potter sequel came to be–how an idea was developed into producing a play.

Though J.K. Rowling has played a large part in the writing and production of the Harry Potter sequel, Sonia Friedman and a fellow producer had the idea for a Harry Potter play, a new story, and brought it to Rowling’s attention. While working on the script for Fantastic Beasts, Jo turned down the offer to write the script for Cursed Child and handed over the reigns of her world to Jack Thorn.

Sonia Friedman was very clear in emphasizing that Jo has been incredibly instrumental, “very crucial,” “very involved in the story,” and apart of all aspects of the production process for Cursed Child. After Jo said “yes,” and her gave approval to explore the idea, she was introduced to John Tiffany who lead her to Jack Thorn.

 

 

Friedman also addressed her responsibility for casting, and the discussion around Noma Dumezweni playing Hermione. Dumezweni is an incredibly talented actress, and her performance in workshops won her the role of Hermione. When Friedman was asked if she was purposefully making a political statement about race with Dumezweni’s casting, she said no, “not in the casting of Hermione.”

Sonia Friedman goes on to talk about her other plays, the beginning of her career, and the difference between working on the London West End and on Broadway.

The entire interview (only 28 minutes long) can be heard here.

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21. UPDATE: Publishing Partners Release Press Statements on ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Merchandise

Following last week’s announcement of the publishing partners assisting with the creation and distribution of Fantastic Beasts merchandise and companion books, press releases from the publishers are circulating, giving us little hints at what to expect.

The CEO of Insight Editions, Raoul Goff, said of the announcement:

“Insight is thrilled to continue working with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, extending our current line of Harry Potter film-related products to include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Fantastic Beasts line will have a little something for everybody and will feature all of the hallmarks of quality and creativity that fans have come to expect from the Harry Potter film publishing program.”

Their press release reminds us of their great merchandise, and the amazing works partnerships like this can produce on a global scale:

“For the last seven years, Insight Editions has published a wide range of books and collectible products for the Harry Potter franchise, including the Monster Book of Monsters prop replica (featuring a limited edition of Harry Potter: The Creature Vault), Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book, and several other titles and formats released in over twenty-five languages worldwide.

In addition to products they have published themselves, Insight Editions has created multiple books for the Harry Potter film franchise that have been published in the US through HarperCollins and Scholastic—including the New York Times bestsellers Harry Potter: Film WizardryHarry Potter: Page to Screen, and Harry Potter Coloring Book.

“Our partnerships, both in the US and internationally, have become a cornerstone of the success of our Harry Potter film publishing,” said Goff. “We look forward to creating an equally strong global program for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for years to come.”

Ellie Berger – President of Scholastic Trade – commented on the partnership:

“As the U.S. publisher that introduced Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to American readers in 1998, we are thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to complement the expansion of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. We look forward to bringing the world of these amazing movies to existing fans and a new generation of readers.”

Catherine Bell, Scholastic UK’s Co. Group Managing Director, said:

“We are delighted to be publishing the tie-in programmes for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the original Harry Potter movies. With a range of exciting formats, we look forward to bringing the world of these amazing movies to existing fans and a new generation of readers.”

Iole Lucchese, President of Scholastic Canada, commented:

“We are absolutely delighted to partner with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create products complementing the broadening scope of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. This publishing program for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, marks the start of an exciting year for J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, generating a magical publishing moment for Canadian fans and readers.”

Chief Executive of HarperCollins UK, Charlie Redmayne, commented:

“We are delighted to be publishing the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tie-in books. The film promises to be a spectacular rendering of the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling, and the books will be the perfect companions for fans everywhere.”

President and CEO of HarperCollins Worldwide, Brian Murray, said:

“For the first time we are able to seamlessly plan, coordinate and integrate book publication of film tie-in editions across multiple languages and markets with Warner Bros. Consumer Products in North America and internationally to ensure the widest possible readership and awareness of the books and the film.

You can read the full press releases over at Mugglenet, here, and our coverage of the original announcement here!

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22. April -- Alternate Reality, Books, Kids, Movies, and Dogs

 

      HogwartsJimKay
    

Alternate Reality

Harry Potter isn’t real? Oh no! Wait, wait, what do you mean by real? Is this video blog real? Am I real if you can see me and hear me, but only through the internet? Are you real if I can read your comment but I don’t know who you are or what your name is or where you’re from or what you look like or how old you are? I know all of those things about Harry Potter. Maybe Harry Potter’s real and you’re not.” 
― 
John Green

The illustration of Hogwarts is by Jim Kay

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Opening the Doors to Wonder

Töölö Buds2015-april 097Wonder comes in many forms.

Harry Potter swept the reading world and opened the doors to a greater audience. The success of the Harry Potter series renewed broad-based respect for fairy tales. 

From the first book and beyond, J.K. Rowling created an alternate world that readers could relate to. People young and old are drawn in to these robust stories and their engaging, fully developed characters. As with the classic stories from the past, the characters, imaginative twists and turns of the stories, and the fully realized details, combined to enable readers to believe in the magic of an alternate reality. The seven Harry Potter books created an enormous worldwide audience. And provided the substance for wonderful films. 

Adults have also become fans of the books and movies, creating a record breaking "crossover" market. And the phenomenon continues to grow...

Click the photo for spring wonder.

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Contact With The Lives Of Others

HarryHermioneHogwartsOminous"Rowling's books, by arousing curiousity and establishing contact with the lives of others, even if they exist solely within the confines of a literary work, enable children to develop capacities that readily translate into real-life experience. JkRowling never shies away from the great existential mysteries: death and loss, cruelty and compassion, desire and depression. Harry is anything but sheltered from the evils of Voldermort...he is destined for greatness even though he also posseses the weaknesses, failings, and vulnerabilities of all humans."

Maria Tatar -- Enchanted Hunters -- The Power of Stories in Childhood

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Harry Began On A Train

HarryPotterPhilosophersStoneBarryMoserJK Rowling: I was going on a train from Manchester to London and I was looking out of the window at some cows, I believe and I just thought: "Boy doesn't know he's a wizard - goes off to wizard school." I have no idea where it came from. I think the idea was floating along the train and looking for someone and my mind was vacant enough so it decided to zoom in there.

Stephen Fry: And you played with the idea in your head…

JK Rowling: Exactly! From that moment I thought: "Well why doesn't he realise he's a wizard?" It was as though the story was just there for me to discover and I thought: "Well his parents are dead and he needs to find out they're wizards" and on we went from there. 

From a Stephen Fry Interview with JK Rowling

The illustration, from the Philosophers Stone, is by Jim Kay.

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Hermione...an empowered young woman

HermioneSoulful"Throughout the Harry Potter Tales, Hermione emerges as the beneficiary of three centuries of girls' book identity. At times the plucky youth, at times the serious student, at times the foolish lover, at times the tomboy, at times the blossoming maiden -- taken together, all these aspects of her personality make her the heir to everyone from Jenny Peace in Sarah Fielding's The Governess, to Jo in Alcott's Little Women, to Alice in Carroll's Wonderland, to all the girl guides, or "new Women" or adventuresome or studious females who fill the range of popular writing well into the twentieth century."

From Seth Lerer writing about Theaters of Girlhood, Domesticity, Desire, and Performance in Female Fiction in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter 

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“I wrote a strong female character with brains”

- J.K. Rowling commenting on Hermione in a video conversation with Daniel Radcliff

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Finding the Right Wand -- an adventure in an alternate reality

First, you go to Diagon Alley where Ollivanders is located..."Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C...

A single wand lays on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window."

You will be helped by Mr. Ollivander, a very old man, who remembers every wand he has sold -- and to whom he sold it.

NewHarryPYou will be measured in many ways by a tape measure that works on its on while Mr Ollvander explains that, "Every Ollvander wand has a core of powerful magical substance...We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tale feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same..."

You may have to try many wands before you have the right one.

It seems you don't choose the wand, the wand chooses you...

The fully imagined detail in the Harry Potter books plays a major role in their appeal. The fascinating story of Harry finding the right magic wand takes place in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when Hagrid takes Harry shopping on Diagon Alley, and introduces him to the the world of wizards.

The illustration of Harry and Hagrid in Diagon Alley is by Jim Kay

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An Alternate Universe

 

Forbidden ForestCentaurs..."J. K. Rowling has created a world as fully detailed as L. Frank Baum’s Oz or J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, a world so minutely imagined in terms of its history and rituals and rules that it qualifies as an alternate universe, which may be one reason the “Potter” books have spawned such a passionate following and such fervent exegesis...."

From the book review by Michiko Kakatani  of Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows in the New York Times

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Stories That Opened My Mind

HarryOwl"There are hundreds upon hundreds of reasons for one to fall in love with the world and characters J.K. Rowling created in the Harry Potter series, the aforementioned being among them. For me, these are the stories that opened my mind to the wonderful world of books, novels and novellas, making them very near and dear to my heart..."

From the BookNerd on her Wonderful World of Writing blog

 
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An Older Harry Potter 

...Harry is called back into active duty when evil powers return in force... a new book and a play (opening in London) based on the book - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- are on their way, arriving in late July. They are based on a story  by J.K. Rowling. Here are two links for more information: Pottermore and NPR

FantasticBeastsWhereToFindThemCoverWizardry Before Harry

The Wizard World in 1920's USA is the setting for a new movie,starring Eddie Redmayne... 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in the UK in November 2016... The book about Fantastic Beasts was used as part of the curriculum for young wizards in the Hogwarts classroom. There will be two sequels...all written by J.K. Rowling. 


Support For Children
 
LogoBetterJ.K. Rowling spends time and money on helping people...In 2004 she founded Lumos...'No child should be denied a family life because they are poor, disabled or from an ethnic minority. Lumos works to support the 8 million children in institutions worldwide to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children."

Among the many other charities she supports are:Book Aid InternationalCatie Hoch FoundationChildren with AIDSDyslexia ActionGingerbread...

JKRowling2Who Is J.K. Rowling ?

For the real J.K. Rowling, or as close as we will probably get, I suggest the Oprah Interview... Engaging, interesting,  and with some excellent documentary scenes woven in...Also, her candid, heartfelt, Harvard speech.


Alternate Reality 

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  

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The N.R.A. Reimagines Classic Fairy Tales, With Guns

Liam Stack wrote this disturbing article. Here are excerpts...

"The world of make-believe can be a scary place, but never fear: Thanks to a series of reimagined fairy tales published online by the National Rifle Association, classic characters like Hansel and Gretel are now packing heat.

FairytaleGunsNYTThe group has published two of the updated tales on its N.R.A. Family website in recent months, entitled Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun) and Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns). The stories have outraged advocates of gun control, but their author, Amelia Hamilton, a conservative blogger, has called them lessons in gun safety...

In the N.R.A. version, Little Red Riding Hood sets off through the forest to visit her grandmother, just like in the original. But the Big Bad Wolf did not scare her this time, because she “felt the reassuring weight of the rifle on her shoulder.”

When the wolf approached her, “she shifted her rifle so that it was in her hands and at the ready.” He fled in fear...

Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, agreed, calling the stories “a disgusting, morally depraved marketing campaign.” He said in a statement that the stories were in poor taste in part because nearly 50 children and teenagers are shot each day in the United States, and suicide by gun is a leading cause of death among children over the age of 9..." 

Here is a link to read all of this disturbing article:FairyTaleGuns

The photo of a boy with a Barrett rifle at a meeting of the National Rifle Association in St. Louis in 2012. is by Daniel Acker for The New York Times

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Syrian_refugeesJordan

 Save The Children

Save the Children works in 120 countries, including the United States, and has helped more than 166 million children — including more than 55 million children directly. Here are excerpts from the story of one child...

Omar said, 'We have to be here very early in the morning because the tankers arrive early, so I get here at six in the morning and leave late at night so I that I have time to collect as much fuel as possible'..."

Omar was a good student and loved school; he dreamed of becoming an architect. His life is now about survival.

Here is a link to read all of Omar's painful story: Omar

Top photo, courtesy IRF; bottom photo, courtesy Save The Children.

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Hobbit2BookCoverImportance of Children's Books for Most Adults

"But children's books are extremely important. Most adults don't read many books and if they do it will probably be some form of popular fiction. So a children's classic may be the last, or in some cases, the only, piece of serious literature they have read. As such these books are very influential and so I think it is our responsibility to consider them as seriously and carefully as any other great literature." 

From a Guardian article by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Alison Lurie ,  professor emeritus of literature and writing at Cornell University, and author and editor of a multitude of children's books.

 
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HarveyTheDog
A Classic Video....Harvey the Dog

 

 

 


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The Planet Of The Dogs....An Alternate Reality

Here are excerpts from Chapter One of the book...the story of how dogs came down to Planet Earth to help people...

"Far out in the sky, on the other side of the sun, is the Planet of the Dogs. Dogs have always lived there in peace and happiness.

PlanetOfTheDogs-frontcover-jpg-388x600There are country dogs and city dogs. They live in places like Shepherd Hills, Poodletown, Retriever Meadows, Muttville, Hound Dog Hamlet, Biscuit Town, and Shaggy Corners... 

Dogs talk to each other in many ways. They woof, bark, and howl. They use body movement, face licking, smiling, and tail wagging. Dogs can hear what other dogs are thinking. And they always tell the truth...Dogs are very good at sleeping, taking naps, and waiting for someone they love...

Dogs have no worries on their planet because there are no dangers there. There are no bad dogs, no hungry animals, and no mean people. There is plenty to eat, lots of time to play, and all kinds of schools for the puppies to learn interesting things about their planet and each other. It’s a wonderful place to live.

Here is a link to read Sample Chapters of the Planet Of The Dogs series. 

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 This is the world of Yelodoggie, created by author and dog advocate, C.A. Wulff.

  All dogs, deep in their heart of hearts, are yellow. Because yellow is the color of light and joy and happiness, and these attributes are the true essence of dogs. Here is a link to Wulff's Etsy shop where you can see more of these delightful original watercolor paintings and prints celebrating dogs. They make a wonderful gift...

      YeloDoggieStrip

  

 

 

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Alternate Realities from Finland

Leena Krohn, a highly regarded writer in Europe, wrote one of my favorite books, Tainaron. I was gratified to see that LeenakrohnMikaelBookJoshua Rothman, in the New Yorker, wrote that her newly published book of collected fiction was among  " The Books We Loved in 2015". Here is an excerpt:  

"I also found myself hypnotized by Leena Krohn, a Finnish writer whose collected stories and novels, rendered into English by many different translators, have just been published as a single volume, Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction.” Broadly speaking, Krohn is a speculative writer; one of the novels in the collection, for example, consists of thirty letters written from an insect city. (“It is summer and one can look at the flowers face to face.”) Krohn writes like a fantastical Lydia Davis, in short chapters the length of prose poems. Her characters often have a noirish toughness; one, explaining her approach to philosophy, says that when she asks an existential question, “life answers. It is generally a long and thorough answer...”

Here is the link to read all of Joshua Rothman's New Yorker review.

Photo by Mikael Böök. 

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Movies

Under The Sun...two realities

A compelling 5 minute report on DW tv news about a little girl in North Korea brought me a reminder of the power of film. Vitaly Mansky, the producer/director, has made a very poignant film about the life of Zin Mi (the little girl) in both the real world and the manufactured world of North Korea. 

Here are excerpts  from an informative article by Carmen Gray in the Guardian...

UnderTheSunZinMiVitalyMansky2"A new film on life in North Korea has caused a diplomatic row after the director used officially sanctioned shoots to demonstrate how the state manipulates its people.

Authorities are said to have tried to prevent screenings of Under the Sun, a film that follows a North Korean girl as she prepares to celebrate the Day of the Shining Star, the birthday of former supreme leader Kim Jong-il...The film reveals how government representatives seek to construct an image of an “ideal” family, capturing the hectoring of officials as they tell the Koreans what to say, how to sit and when to smile.

“I wanted to make a film about the real Korea, but there’s no real life in the way that we consider,” said Mansky, who spent a year in the country filming. “There is just the creation of an image of the myth of a real life. So we made a film about fake reality.” 

Here is the link to the trailer for Under The Sun

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ZootopiaZootopia: 

"Credit the Disney folks with making what could have been a lecture on stereotypes into one of the more amusing animated kidflicks of recent vintage. When you consider that this is the same zip-ah-dee-doo-dah studio that once made Song of the South ... well, let's just say Zootopia suggests we've all come a long way"...Bob Mondello, NPR

Here is a link to the trailer: Zootopia

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WitchTheFamilyDinnerThe Witch, a low budget (one million dollars), independent production, continues to find an ever-growing audience (over 30 million dollars)...

"The Witch is a scary movie and a serious one, because it lure us into the minds and the earthly domains, of those who are themselves scared, night and day, that they have forfeited the mercies of God. It takes an original movie to remind us of original sin..."  Anthony Lane in his New Yorker review.

Stacy Schiffin wrote an excellent article, relevant to this movie, on The Witches of Salem, also in the New Yorker. Here is an excerpt..."In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed. Although we will never know the exact number of those formally charged..."

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“Both Rowling and Meyer (Twilight series), they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”- Stephen King

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 Circling the Waggins by C.A. Wulff

Cover_ctw_vers2What happens when a group of the most irascible, insane, and ridiculously un-adoptable pets known to man end up being permanent residents in an animal rescuer's home? Challenges abound and chaos reigns! 

Here are excerpts from author Tim McHugh’s review…

"Circling the Waggins is a heart-felt and moving story of two women's quest to heal and nurture a wide variety of animals.  C.A. Wulff poignantly captures the complex personalities of the mice, dogs, and cats that inhabit her wilderness home as well as the humorous chaos that ensues as they all try to coexist.  It is by turns a roller-coaster  ride of animal rescue, as well as a keen reflection on the frailty of all life and the healing power of love and letting go."   

 Tim McHugh, is author of Ivan! A Pound Dog's Views on Life, Love, & Leashes 

  
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Dogs Open the Doors to Healing at Good Dog

Good Dog provides therapy dog services to people in health care, social service, educational and community GoodDogfacilities, and at disaster sites around the country. Its highly-trained and fully-certified volunteer teams each consist of a human handler and therapy dog.  Good Dog focuses on work in the four divisions of Education, Health Care and Wellness, Research, and Disaster Response. For more on the work of these divisions, click here.

As the largest certifying animal-assisted therapy organization on the East Coast of the United States, Good Dog currently operates in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey, and at disaster sites around the country. Good Dog focuses on work in the four divisions of Education, Health Care and Wellness, Research, and Disaster Response."

Here is a link to the Good Dog Foundation Video

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Turning Your Pet Into a Therapy Dog

by Jane E. Brody, Personal Health writer for the New York Times

Here is the link to read all of this fascinating and informative article by Jane Brody: Personal Health

The illustration is by Paul Rogers

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        BP Header

POD-The bear-blog sizeWe have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books

Our books are available through independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.

The Planet Of The Dogs series is also available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazon, Powell's, KoboInkteraScribd, and Tolino.

Librarians, teachers and bookstores ..You can order the Planet Of The Dogs  series, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

To read sample chapters of the series, visit PlanetOfTheDogs 

 
The illustration from Planet Of The Dogs is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty

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Meeting A Dog

Sunbearsquad-logoIf you see an injured dog or a dog in trouble , from puppy mills to poison, Sunbear Squad can help you. Sunbear Squad is a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about meeting a new dog(s)...

"In the western world, we are taught at an early age to greet new people by approaching them with upright posture, looking directly into their eyes and offering a hand to shake or squeeze. It becomes second nature to us, so as a result, many of us animal lovers greet every living thing–except bugs–using those same “good manners...

We must UNLEARN that set of social rules to avoid frightening dogs, cats, and other animals, who will perceive full-front posture, staring, and outstretched arm as rude and threatening (unless they were very well-socialized with humans during the crucial developmental period).

In other words, polite human greetings are bad manners for greeting dogs and cats! In fact the two greeting languages are almost all completely opposite...Here is a link to read all of this article: Meeting A Dog.

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“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers  

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23. Two-Year Project Manager Position Needed at Lumos

This morning, J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos, released a statement that they are now hiring. Lumos, which is “committed to protecting and empowering the world’s most vulnerable children,” is looking for a project manager at their office in London.

The job description is posted on their site, wearelumos.org. Some of the details are below:

 

project manager

Location: London – with the ability to travel internationally
Salary: 40,000 per annum – 2 year fixed term contract
Full/Part time: Full time
Temporary/Permanent: Temporary
Closing date: 19th April 2016
Interview date: 2nd May 2016

Job Description

Are you an experienced project manager with a passion to help vulnerable children? If you are, this job may be ideal for you.
Across the globe, an estimated eight million children live in institutions and orphanages. At least 80% are not orphans but are separated from families. They are deprived of the close, loving adult engagement a family provides; their physical, intellectual and emotional development is harmed; and they are exposed to significant risk of abuse and neglect. These are some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
At Lumos, an international NGO founded by J.K. Rowling, and the UK 2015 Charity of the Year, we believe this is a solvable problem. We have developed a model of ‘deinstitutionalisation’ to support countries to reform child care and protection systems based on institutions and replace them with health, education and social care services which keep families together in the community.
We are seeking an experienced project manager to oversee the development and delivery of two major projects at Lumos. 
1. Knowledge Transfer Project:
2. Greece Deinstitutionalisation Support Project:
Lumos operates in a number of different countries helping to support national and regional-level deinstitutionalisation activities. This project aims to help plan for and support the deinstitutionalisation process in Greece. This involves providing training and technical support to staff in the child protection system, emergency support and advocacy activities.
To apply for this role, you should be able to demonstrate a commitment to children’s rights, as well as an understanding of the factors influencing the institutionalisation of children and the complex challenges during the transition from institutional to community-based systems. Demonstrable experience in project management, including budget management, is required, together with experience of working in partnership with other organisations including governments, NGOs and other service providers. 
Post-qualification experience in social work, health, public sector management, international children’s charity work or other relevant children’s services environments involving cross sector working is essential.

 

For more details and requirements about the job, instructions how to apply, and more, please visit wearelumos.orgAll applicants must have an existing right to work in the UK. 

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24. ‘Career of Evil’ Paperback Release Coming 21st April

All those who have been waiting for the paperback release of Robert Galbraith’s Career of Evil will be pleased to know that the date is set for just over 3 weeks time, on the 21st April.

The announcement was made via the Robert Galbraith Facebook page, where we’re invited to ‘Strike down to publication’ with them:

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To those who haven’t read the book (or the series) yet, this is the perfect opportunity to buy them all in paperback – J.K. Rowling has done an amazing job via Robert Galbraith, with Career of Evil earning amazing ratings: 4.2 stars on Goodreads, 4.5 on Amazon

We’ll let the reviews speak for themselves!

“Quirkily different… let’s hope the sardonic Strike is here to stay” (Independent)

“The denouement is violent, unexpected and satisfying . . . [an] entertaining novel” (The Times)

“Fans of the intrepid duo are in for some shocks . . . as readable and exciting as ever” (Daily Telegraph)

“A confident hold on a deliriously clever plot”(Guardian)

“The real joy of this series comes from the originality of the characters” (Morning Star)

“Robert Galbraith . . . again demonstrates that rare, inexplicable and indefinable gift: once started, one simply can’t put [his] books down” (Literary Review)

“Strike is a compelling creation . . . this is terrifically entertaining stuff” (Irish Times)

Read more reviews on ‘The New Queen of Crime’ here, and an interview with J.K. Rowling on the series here!

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25. Best Selling Kids Series | April 2016

This month’s best selling kids series from The Children’s Book Review’s affiliate store Captain No Beard, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman, is an imaginative picture book series loved by all.

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