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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Harry Potter, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 701
1. Warner Bros. to Host Christmas Dinner at Hogwarts

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2. J.K. Rowling Surprises 3 Readers on Twitter

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3. Video Sunday: Hits ’em With His Head Edition

So, fun fact. I read a serious 2017 Newbery contender a couple months ago and it looks like they may release it in the nearish future (February 2nd). I’m calling 2016 as The Year of the Fox, by the way, since both Sara Pennypacker and Kathi Appelt have fox related middle grades on the horizon. This is a particularly nice little book trailer for the Pennypacker book, and not just because they get my current workplace correct. It’s a classy little number.

Betcha bottom dollar you’ll need to read it.

You know, when I hear about librarian parody videos, I naturally assume that they’re done of the latest, hottest song. It’s almost a relief to see one of, of all things, Bohemian Rhapsody. What’s next? Eye of the Tiger? Cause I’ll take it!

Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

As you may have heard, the internet being what it is, there’s a new illustrator of Harry Potter in town and his name is Jim Kay.  A whole host of new images were released the other day, and that was swell, but sometimes it’s nice to hear from the artist himself.

You know, I thought I’d posted this video before but it appears I somehow didn’t.  Ah well.  It isn’t a Video Sunday without at least one 80s style toy ad.  Such as it is.

Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the link!

And for today’s Off-Topic Video I’m going to say, “YES! I KNOW HE DOESN’T HIT THE BRICKS WITH HIS HEAD BUT WITH HIS FIST! THIS IS STILL FUNNY, CONSARN IT!” Phew! Had to get that out there.


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4. J.K. Rowling Reveals the Origins of Harry Potter’s Family

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5. Hogwarts Best Friend Personality Quiz

Harry Potter StampFind Out Who Would Be Your Best Friend at Hogwarts!

Can you imagine how awesome it would be to go to Hogwarts? (Minus the whole Voldemort thing, of course.) It would be amazing! The classes! The professors! The moving stairs . . . !

It is important to know what house the Sorting Hat would stick you in, but we’re overlooking the REAL Hogwarts question we should all be asking ourselves: who would be your Hogwarts bestie? Who would brave the hallowed halls and mysterious secret chambers by your side? Who would help you cram for exams, pull pranks, sneak midnight snacks, and graduate on time? When your letter finally arrives and you go on that magical journey that begins at Platform 9 3/4, you will be well-prepared knowing exactly which Hogwarts student you should be buddying up with. After all, having a best friend can make a world of a difference when starting a new school!

Answer these questions to find YOUR Hogwarts best friend!

  1. Which Hogwarts class are you most looking forward to? a) Care of Magical Creatures. b) Herbology. c) Transfiguration. d) Defense Against the Dark Arts. e) Alchemy.
  2. You are most nervous about . . . a) exams. b) bullies. c) rules. d) possibly not being the smartest person in your class. (GASP!) e) not knowing which of your 37 Yule Ball date invitations to say yes to.
  3. Your favorite Bertie Bott’s Beans flavor is . . . a) soap. b) grass. c) sausage. d) black pepper. e) banana.
  4. If you ran into Fluffy the Cerberus—a vicious three-headed dog–in a dark Hogwarts hallway, your first reaction would be to . . . a) feed it a treat. b) run away. c) cast a shrinking spell on it. d) play music for it, obviously. e) report it to the authorities.
  5. You would most likely get into trouble for . . . a) roaming the castle after hours. b) losing your homework. c) pranking another student. d) checking out an off-limits book from the library. e) Actually, you never get into trouble.
  6. You hope your patronus is a(n) . . . a) dolphin. b) giraffe. c) gopher. d) otter. e) bear.
  7. Your favorite potion is . . . a) Amortentia (a love potion). b) strength potion. c) Polyjuice potion (a potion that makes you look like another person). d) Felix Felicis (a lucky potion). e) Draught of Peace (a calming potion).
  8. Besides classes, what are you most looking forward to? a) Hanging out with mermaids. b) Exploring the library. c) Going to Zonko’s Joke Shop in Hogsmeade. d) There’s life outside class? e) Quidditch!
  9. Which house would you be sorted into? a) Ravenclaw. b) Hufflepuff. c) Gryffindor. d) Slytherin. e) It doesn’t really matter as long as you end up at Hogwarts!

If you picked mostly A’s – LUNA LOVEGOOD
Your best friend at Hogwarts is the brilliant (but sometimes spacey) Luna Lovegood. You’re a creative and curious soul and you need someone who can keep up with your wandering mind. Luna not only keeps up with you, but she leads you into some very strange and exciting adventures! People whisper not-so-kind things about you two behind your backs, but that’s because they don’t understand what they’re calling “weird” is really just “wonderful.” Besides, you two have never cared at all about what anyone ever thought of you—you are completely lost in your own spectacular universe!

If you picked mostly B’s – NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM
You’re quiet and reserved, and you like your privacy. That’s why Neville Longbottom is your best friend. You two could spend hours reading in silence next to each other and be perfectly happy. You will love having long, thoughtful conversations about the fascinating things you’ve learned in class or read about in your free time. You don’t hold being loud and flashy against other people, but it’s not really your thing. However, when the going gets tough, you two aren’t afraid to stand up for each other—or yourselves! You both are brave and kind, and your friendship is steady, trusting, and warm.

If you picked mostly C’s – THE WEASLEY TWINS
You’re popular and you can’t help it! Obviously, when it comes to having a bestie, you could never settle for just one—that’s why your best friends are those famous, fantastic twins, Fred and George Weasley! You’re a gang that believes in having a good time ALL the time, even if it means getting into trouble. But no one ever stays mad at you long, because you are only ever causing a ruckus to make other people smile. What’s so wrong with that? And even if you seem to be silly 24/7, your loyalty and love are no joke. You’re fierce friends to the very end, whether it comes to standing up to a bully or facing off with He Who Shall Not Be Named.

If you picked mostly D’s – HERMIONE GRANGER
You’re a quick-witted genius and find yourself smarter than most people, so your best friend is—naturally—Hermione Granger. The two of you may argue sometimes, but you have too much respect for each other to ever stay mad about anything for very long. There’s usually some problem that other people need you to help solve, so it’s up to the two of you to combine forces and save the day (again). The very best thing about your friendship is that as much as you may complain, you are always 100% ready and willing to help each other and your other friends whenever it’s needed. The two of you inspire everyone around you to be more fearless and selfless every day!

If you picked mostly E’s – CEDRIC DIGGORY
You’re a genuine and pure person with a heart of gold. You don’t like to break the rules at all, but you have a very strong sense of right and wrong. You’re no trendsetter since you like to play it safe, but people are drawn to your open and honest personality, so you are very well liked by everyone. The two of you would spend all your time together playing Quidditch, eating pizza, and playing video games (or going on accidental adventures). You both value the little, everyday things in life, and that makes your friendship a solid, happy one.


Who is your Hogwarts best friend? Did you think you got the right one? What other Harry Potter character do you wish you could be friends with in real life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

See ya,

En-Szu, STACKS Writer

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6. Happy Birthday to Hermione!

I've learned all the course books by heart.

hermione granger

Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Hermione, you are awesome! We love you! Happy Birthday!!!

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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7. Pottermore Team to Re-Design Site

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8. Weekend Links: Exploring the Potterverse (Harry Potter events and links)

September first marks the “beginning” of many new things for different people, but for the fans and readers of the Harry Potter books series from J.K. Rowlings, September 1st exceptionally special.

You see, 9/1 is the day that all students go back to Hogwarts in Harry Potter’ World. That being said; this last Tuesday was a huge day all across the Internet and Twitter in honor of the #backtohogwarts celebration. There were huge giveaways , J.K. Rowling herself was interacting with Tweeters and I personally had a ball interacting, reading and tweeting all of the wonderful “Harry-related” stuff.

Here are some highlights of our very Harry Potter fulfilled day. First off, Kings Cross Train Station, the real actual one in London England had Hogwarts posted on their train schedule. The platform was wrong but what can we except from muggles?

KingsCrossing actual time board

One of my favorite tweets was from Professor Snape with a word of caution to students. Anyone remember when Ron Weasley missed the Hogwarts Express and took the car instead ? Bet he won’t do that again?

Professor Snape2

JK Rowling sent her greetings to Harry Potter’s son James Potter, wishing him good luck on his first day at Hogwarts.

James Potter


A little bit later she heard from one of this year’s newest students that she is near James on the Hogwarts Express. A funny little conversation ensued.

Say Hi and thanks

Later on in the day we learned that young James Potter, son of Harry, has now been sorted into Gryffindor. That was a no-brainer. Would this be an appropriate time to get on my knees and BEG for more Harry Potter books, or even James Potter books.


I miss this boy Harry Potter. I am filled with nostalgia at the thought of returning to Hogwarts. My eldest daughter Zaina and Harry are the very same age. Harry Potter is a huge part of my parenting memories as my sweet girl would sit on a lawn chair in the driveway waiting for the FedEx man to come with the NEXT newly-released Harry Potter book. Begging is not a crime, neither is pleading. I know you may have moved on JK Rowling but you must miss the wizarding world just a little. PLEASE……bring us another book.

OK, all begging aside, let me wave my magic wand and share some really incredible info with you.

JK Rowling  has this incredible site called Pottermore.


Pottermore is the official Harry Potter site created by JK Rowling along with Sony. A unique and free-to-use website which builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books. We enter inside the wizarding world book by book via scenes that we unlock which correlates with the writing.


Also added perks is that JK Rowling herself shares exclusive new writing all the time because she owns this site. Besides being FREE here are a few good reasons to join,…. it’s so incredibly safe for kids, promotes literacy by interacting with her books and it’s the only place you can get the audio versions. Wonderful interactive items inside the books where you can earn badges, collect friends, and items for your trunk.  The most important thing is that everyone is magical and a wizard. It’s amazing. Yep I think it’s time to dive into the Potterverse. So you see I really didn’t need to beg, I was just being dramatic. Head on over to Pottermore and have a ball. You’ll see all the regulars there!

Looking for better guide for successful homeschooling? The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment.
The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook: The Simple Step-by-Step guide to creating a Waldorf-inspired homeschool.

Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post Weekend Links: Exploring the Potterverse (Harry Potter events and links) appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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9. Harry Potter as an Antagonist Video Goes Viral

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10. Harry is alive

I’m on vacation as I write this. On September 1, students returned to Hogwarts, boarding that scarlet train from Platform 9 3/4.  They’d been to Diagon Alley for new robes, cauldrons, chocolate frogs, and spellbooks. The professors were probably already at the castle, getting ready for another school year.

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, please note. I. Am. On. Vacation. And I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books, because that is my summer book tradition. They are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Comfort food. Yes, I am a 50-something Potterhead. I am admitting it here in a public forum. But, look, folks, I am not the only one. I have at least one Twitter friend that is re-reading Harry Potter this summer, and she’s a responsible adult. I know of two Harry Potter parties that happened in the last few days. Several friends are now reading Harry aloud to their children (they’ve been waiting for their kids to get old enough for this). Harry Potter is alive and well in the hearts and minds of so many of us.

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

How many of you celebrated on July 31? Who watches the Harry Potter movies when you are feeling a little sad or have the flu? Do you have pets (or maybe even children) named for characters in the books? How many of you are planning to take extra vacation days before or after the ALA Conference next summer and make the pilgrimage? Raise your hand if you, too, relish days off, in the most comfy spot in your house, or at the beach, with a Harry Potter book tucked firmly in hand. And now, I need to return to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire is calling.

The post Harry is alive appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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11. Harry Potter Name Generator

Harry Potter StampThe Hogwarts Express Leaves Today!

If you received your Hogwarts letter this year, you are probably just now getting ready to board the Hogwarts Express to start your wizarding education. Congratulations! To help you get ready for your new life at Hogwarts, I created this Harry Potter name generator so you can invent yourself as a character in the wizarding world.

I tried not to include any actual character name combos. So you can be Ginny Wizangamot, but you can’t be Ginny Weasley. (But oh my goodness, how awesome would it be to actually BE Ginny Weasley???) For first name, you have the option to choose either a boy’s name or a girl’s name that starts with the first letter of your Muggle name. There’s nothing that says you have to choose the boy’s name of you’re a boy or the girl’s name if you’re a girl, but you have the choice. I tried not to choose any evil character names, but for some letters, it was impossible. (Sorry Yaxley Umbridge! I’m sure you’re very nice in real life.)

First name choices: 

  • Albus or Arabella
  • Buckbeak or Bellatrix
  • Cedric or Cho
  • Dobby or Demelza
  • Errol or Enid
  • Firenze or Fleur
  • Grawp or Ginny
  • Harry or Hermione
  • Igor or Irma
  • James or Jewelweed
  • Kreacher or Kendra
  • Ludo or Luna
  • Mundungus or Minerva
  • Neville or Nymphadora
  • Orion or Olympe
  • Patronus or Parvati
  • Quibbler or Quietus
  • Rubeus or Rosmerta
  • Severus or Sibyll
  • Trevor or Thistle
  • Urg or Unicorn
  • Viktor or Veela
  • Wulfric or Walberga
  • Xenophilius
  • Yaxley or Yew
  • Zacharias

Last name

  • Aragog
  • Beauxbatons
  • Crookshanks
  • Durmstrang
  • Evans
  • Flamel
  • Gryffindor
  • Hufflepuff
  • Imago
  • Jordan
  • Knockturn
  • Lumos
  • Mandragora
  • Nimbus
  • Ollivander
  • Padfoot
  • Quidditch
  • Ravenclaw
  • Slytherin
  • Thestral
  • Umbridge
  • Veela
  • Wizengamot
  • Xenophilius
  • Yeti
  • Zonko

Tell us your Harry Potter name in the Comments!

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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12. YouTuber Creates a Game of Thrones-Themed ‘See You Again’ Video

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13. Harry Potter Day! A Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers

Happy Potter Day!

July 31. Since 1997, it is the day that many fans worldwide have celebrated the birthday of a very special character and story. JK Rowling's imagination has touched thousands of lives and inspired millions to read.

But she also inspired writers. And it seems appropriate to us at Adventures in YA Publishing to celebrate on this day, which is also JK Rowling's 50th birthday, the influence she had on so many to create their own characters and envision their own worlds. We've gathered stories from many authors sharing how Harry and Jo influenced them. We hope you will enjoy these treasured inspirations and share your own in the comments.

But as it's Jo's birthday, let us also not forget the many charities she's sponsored. To give a present to a women who has given us so much would mean remembering Lumos (seeks to end institutionalized orphanages and place children in homes), or Gingerbread (provides help to one-parent families), or Book Aid International (works to provide libraries and books in Africa). Indeed, Jo gave so generously, that she was knocked off Forbes' billionaire list.

Happy Birthday Jo! May you have many more, and may we enjoy more fruits of your imagination.

How Harry Potter Influenced Me. A Birthday Celebration of JK Rowling's Influence on Writers!

-- Donna Hosie, author of The Devil's Intern, Website, Twitter
Like many authors, I started writing because of Harry Potter. During the years of release mania, I was lucky enough to be working on The Leaky Cauldron website, a fan site that J.K. Rowling actually named as her favourite. Warner Bros and EA Games asked me to be a fan consultant on some of their movie tie-in products and I would go along to the studios, interview the creative masterminds, see stills, props and conceptual artwork before anyone else, and generally geek out and yell "Expelliarmus" at unsuspecting Muggles!

I went from writing reports of my visits to writing fan fiction to writing my own time-travel novels. Eight years after 'The End', I'm an award-winning author. None of that would have happened without The Boy Who Lived. So Harry Potter literally changed my life.

And I'm still yelling "Expelliarmus"!

-- Claire M. Caterer, author of The Wand & The Sea, Website, Twitter

I can't say I've grown up with Harry Potter, because I was already grown when I started reading about him. But I will say my writing grew up--quite a lot. What I've taken from J.K. Rowling's example are two crucial points: complexity of character and complexity of plot.

Few things have moved me in literature more than the struggle of Severus Snape as the good and bad within him dueled for supremacy. When I sat down to write my first children's book, I knew I needed some characters who struggled within themselves the way Snape does, the way Harry does (forever wondering if he's somehow part Voldemort), the way Dumbledore does. "The world isn't split into good people and Death Eaters," as Sirius Black says.

And how could anyone not be awed and influenced by the intricacy of the Harry Potter plots? The gentle placement of symbols, especially those relating to alchemy and the elements, had a huge impact on me as I was planning THE KEY & THE FLAME series. JKR taught me to go back through the manuscript, deepen the work a little bit more, and then again, and yet again. I haven't mastered her methods yet, but I keep trying.

-- Lisa Gail Green, author of Soul Crossed, Website, Twitter

Harry Potter was so amazing that it actually delayed me from pursuing writing! I felt like nothing less was worthwhile, and that at the same time there was no way to reach that level of accomplishment. What cured me? I read Twilight. LOL!!! *ducks tomatoes*

Seriously though, HP is mastery at work. JK Rowling invited us into a world, as readers, that was as real as the one we live in, yet full of magic. Every detail, every character, a well-rounded masterpiece that fit together as a perfect puzzle. Not just that - but as a person she is an absolute inspiration. When I have trouble writing because of my toddler I think of her with the stroller in a cafe scribbling in a notebook and I have renewed determination.

 -- Gwynne Jackson, author of "Hans & the Best Day Ever" in Happily Ever Afterlife, Website, Twitter

Three points come to mind when I think of the influence JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books have had on my writing. The first is that being a visual writer is a very good thing. JKR has the ability to describe things just enough so that we can see them, but can still put our own spin on them. The most beautiful part of this is that she rarely overdoes it. Point #2 is in the way she buries clues deep inside her narrative. Sometimes these clues might not even be recognized as clues until four or five books later, but her consistency with them is outstanding. A name here, an attribute there, and three books later it's a major plot point. Some of these might have been planted in advance and others serendipitous, but in either case they're brilliant.

The biggest influence JKR's had on my writing is in the way she treats minor characters. I doubt there's a single character in any of the HP books where she doesn't know their story, their background, their motivations, their desires. This is what's fueled so much fanfiction based on her work: everyone loves a hero, but she makes the other characters so real and so multi-layered that as readers we can't help but want to make each of them the star. In real life we're all the center of our own universe. JK Rowling has created a world where that's also true for every one of her characters. It's my favorite thing about her writing, and something I always try to emulate.

-- Gwen Katz, represented by Thao Le, Website, Twitter

Hogwarts felt the size of a real school: Harry has a lot of acquaintances beyond his close friends, he isn't always in the same classes with his friends, and even in the later books, he sometimes runs into kids he doesn't know because they're in other houses and grades. Important roles like Quidditch team captain often fall to people outside the main characters, making them feel like real people with actual lives who don't cease to exist when Harry isn't around. Harry Potter encouraged me to set my books in large worlds where even minor characters feel like they are living real lives.


  -- Susan Sipal, author of A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, Website, Twitter

I was already a writer when I first started reading Harry Potter to my son, but my writing took a turn after meeting The Boy Who Lived.  My son and I spent many hours together ferreting out JK Rowling's clues and trying to guess what would happen next. While he loved figuring out the meanings behind her mythical names, I got sucked into the many layers of subtext JKR wove into each adventure.

Rowling knew how to deeply engage her reader. She always gave the reader more...more delightful characters, more fantastic world building, and more deeply hidden mysteries and secrets. This depth and reader engagement is why Harry Potter spawned fanfiction, fanart, Wizard Rock, movies, and even theme parks. Seeking to understand her secrets, I developed a workshop analyzing Rowling's techniques for writers, and have enjoyed presenting it to fans who love Rowling's creations as much as I do. She has inspired me to, in any genre I write, always write below the surface and to seek the reader's engagement like Harry seeking the Snitch.

The love of a very powerful story can influence writers in the stories they tell for years to come. We thank all the authors for sharing their own encounter with The Boy who Lived.

Please, everyone, feel free to add in the comments your experience of how Harry Potter or JK Rowling influenced your writing. We'd LOVE to hear more stories!

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14. Harry Potter-Themed ‘See You Again’ Video Goes Viral

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15. Harry Potter Would You Rather

Harry Potter StampHarry Potter Would You Rather

EnergeticGriffin20 posted this Harry Potter Would You Rather Quiz on the Harry Potter Message Board.

Would You Rather . . . 

  1. Be a Slytherin or Gryffindor?
  2. Be a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?
  3. Get stuck in the Chamber of Secrets for 10 minutes or get stuck in a closed room with Dementors for 10 minutes?
  4. Be Professor Dumbledore or Professor McGonagall?
  5. Be a Quidditch player or not?
  6. Study Charms or Potions?
  7. Have a detention with Professor Snape or Professor Umbridge?
  8. Live with Harry Potter your whole life or live with Hermione your whole life?
  9. Be a professor at Hogwarts or a student at Hogwarts?

Leave your answers in the Comments and go visit the Harry Potter Message Board to join the conversation.

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16. J.K. Rowling Reveals New Details About Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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17. Currencies in Literary Worlds: INFOGRAPHIC

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18. Least Favorite Good Character

Writing Prompt: Shout-outDebate: Your Least Favorite Good Character

There is a debate happening on the Harry Potter Message Board re: Who is your least favorite good guy? And TechnologyAthlete12 has some harsh words about Ron:

Ron. Yep I know a lot of you will be surprised but I just dislike Ron, as he is quite useless throughout the series other than the one time when he destroyed a horcrux. Other than that, all he does is take the female main character (Hermione Granger) as a wife and yeah. He really just slows things down, makes too much noise, and is too sensitive. I guess his family is okay as they help Harry quite a bit throughout the series, but Ron himself really does nothing. I guess he can be funny at times but that is the only positive thing that he does consistently throughout the series.

What do YOU think? Do you agree that Ron is useless? Who is YOUR least favorite good character? Tell us in the Comments!

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19. J.K. Rowling on Gaining Admission to Hogwarts

Hogwarts (GalleyCat)Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has become well-known for delighting her fans on Twitter. Over the weekend, one reader asked Rowling about how to secure a letter of admission to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Rowling gave this reply: “All these people saying they never got their Hogwarts letter: you got the letter. You went to Hogwarts. We were all there together.” In a second tweet, she also quoted beloved Headmaster Albus Dumbledore: “Of course it happened inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it wasn’t real?”

In addition, Rowling also answered questions about Albus Severus Potter’s name and Draco Malfoy’s birthday. We’ve chronicled all of the exchanges in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think? (via BuzzFeed.com)

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20. Harry Potter E-Books Sale This July

Next month is Harry Potter’s birthday and to celebrate, Pottermore.com is running a special sale on e-books.

The site will be offering 25 percent off of the complete Harry Potter e-book collection at the Pottermore Shop.

Pottermore launched back in 2011 as the online destination for all things Harry Potter. Since then author J.K. Rowling has contributed new original writing including a history of the Quidditch Cup, as well as new details about the “Great Villain” Dolores Umbridge.

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21. Thoughts on Theme by Claire M. Caterer + #Giveaway

I love theme. For me, it is the hub of the wheel around which the story turns...after you write a compelling story and discover what that theme is, that is. That's why I'm so happy to welcome author Claire Caterer to the blog today with her excellent insight on why theme matters and how to judicially weave it into our stories.

As another Harry Potter fan, I've known Claire on Twitter for a while and am so glad she gave me an excuse in this post to include some Potter gifs! Her new book, The Wand and the Sea, releases in just a few days. Be sure to check out her giveaway for it at the end of the post!

Thoughts on Theme, a Craft of Writing Post by Claire M. Caterer

Hands down, this is the best question I’ve ever gotten from a student during a school visit:

How do you decide what your theme is going to be?

Bless those students! They learn all the right terms—character, setting, plot, denouement, and yes, theme. So they want to plug all those things into their stories. Just tell me where to put the theme, they say, and I’ll install it.

I’d like to say I had a crackerjack answer ready for this kid, but I stammered out some lame version of what I later thought hard about and decided to write down here. I have the feeling that kid will never read this, but at least he got me thinking.

How do you decide what your theme is going to be? Short answer: You don’t.

What the Heck Is a Theme?
Theme is the Big Idea of your story. It begins with a broad idea like unrequited love, corporate corruption, or good vs. evil. From there, the theme boils down into a statement or idea that the author is trying to make about that broad idea: Better to Have Loved and Lost Than Never to Have Loved at All. One Person Can Bring Down a Bad Company. Standing Together Against Evil Is Worth the Sacrifice. You get the idea. You might want to check out this handy list of 100 Common Themes here.

Why All Themes Sound Like Clichés
Themes are universal truths that everyone can relate to. Take Coming of Age, for instance. Everyone reading a COA book has either come of age, is going to come of age, or is in the throes of it as we speak. That doesn’t make it a bad theme; on the contrary, that makes it something your reader is sure to understand. The trick is to put your own twist to it. Have you ever thought about Gone with the Wind as a coming-of-age story? Scarlet grows up from a bratty, spoiled teenager to a grown woman who figures out some serious stuff. She may not ever face the popular clique in her twenty-first-century high school, but a lot of the lessons are the same.

Can You Have More Than One Theme?
Absolutely. Complex stories come at you with lots of different issues. In the Harry Potter series, a weak, good person takes on a supremely powerful evil force. (Same theme as the David and Goliath story, by the way, and Star Wars, and about a thousand others.) There’s some coming-of-age-ing going on too. There’s Professor Snape’s character arc, which is a Sacrificing All for Love theme. And several others as well.

The Trouble with Themes
All writers want their work to mean something, but if you’re looking for the theme while you’re writing, you’re doing something wrong. And if you decide what the theme is going to be before you start writing, you’re really doing something wrong.

Example: I’m going to write the story of Racism in the Deep South. Really? I’m already bored. It’s not that stories of racism can’t be interesting (The Help, To Kill a Mockingbird), but if you begin with that broad paintbrush, you’re likely to write something clichéd. Racism in the Deep South will have you trotting out all the well-worn tropes: the belittlement of some good-hearted but proud black woman; a girl getting pelted with tomatoes as she walks into an integrated school; a young man is threatened by a gang of whites. These things did happen and continue to happen, but with that giant billboard of THEME blinking in big neon lights over your computer, you’ll have a hard time making them unique.

Plot vs. Theme
Plot is closely related to theme, because once you summarize the plot, you often see the theme emerge. Corporate Corruption Nearly Proves the Downfall of a Young Idealistic Attorney (The Firm). Theme? It’s Okay to Break a Few Rules to Bring Down the Bad Guys. (Also known as The End Justifies the Means.) But again, if you come up with that tagline or summary first, you have to force characters and situations and settings into that mold. And in thinking up your characters, you’ll have to find the Evil Corporate Hotshot, the Idealistic Young Attorney, the Spunky Girlfriend Who Plays the Role of Conscience—ugh. I’m bored again. These are archetypes, not people.

So, What Do You Do?
Instead of searching out a tagline, plot summary, or theme, try writing a story about people first. Everyone’s different, and I know some people start with plot or setting, and I can’t argue with that. But character had better be close behind, because the best plot in the world can’t save a story peopled by cardboard cutouts. If readers can’t identify and engage with the characters, your big, deep theme won’t mean a thing to them. In fact, they probably won’t get far enough in the book to figure out what the theme is.

Find something compelling about your character in your story. Are you writing about someone who doesn’t fit in? That could be boring and faceless unless your character is Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) or Harry Potter or Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower. Come up with that person, and even if the theme is common—the Lone Hero Makes a Stand or Good Conquers Evil—the story will be powerful.

So … How Do Decide What Your Theme Is Going to Be?
You don’t. Your theme picks you. You write the most honest, real, go-to-the-gut story you’ve got in you. You people it with complex characters. You put them in impossible situations. Then, when you’re all done, look around. The theme will emerge out of the story like one of those Magic Eye 3D pictures.

And Then What?
You can just leave it alone, but you can also play up your theme once you see it coming out in bits and pieces. You might play with symbolism, or plant foreshadowing that echoes the theme. Is that wand symbolic of Harry’s power? What happens when it breaks and he doesn’t have it anymore? Does it further his Coming of Age, or does it impede it? Spin out those threads to see where they lead. Don’t dress up your theme billboard in neon lights—no reader wants to be blinded by the Big Theme—but you might put a small spotlight on it here and there. Bring it into high relief in places, and then back off.

Let the theme arise naturally out of the people and their situation, not out of your brain. All life events have themes if you look for them, and your story, after all, is just that: A life. Or many lives. Leave the theme-chasing to the lit scholars and fifth graders. They’ll find it if your story resonates.


A year has passed since Holly, Ben, and Everett discovered a fantastical realm called Anglielle, where magic is outlawed and those who practice it are hunted. Now, on their return, they find their friends imprisoned and the alliance scattered. Ruthless King Reynard and the sorcerer Raethius are determined to find the very Adepts they exiled in the first place—but why?

It’s up to Holly and the boys to sail to the Isle of Exile and find the Adepts first, but that means enlisting the help of the Water Elementals and a pirate captain with a private agenda. Everett is obsessed with a mysterious locket with a mind of its own, and somehow, no matter where they go, a sinister black-sailed schooner appears on the horizon. With no one to teach her, can Holly master Elemental magic in time to save the Adepts of Anglielle?

Amazon | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million


Claire M. Caterer lives in the suburbs of Kansas City, where she spends most of her time writing down the adventures of her imaginary friends. She loves chocolate, dogs, and occasionally, chocolate dogs. The Wand & the Sea is a sequel to her first novel, The Key & the Flame.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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 -- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers

0 Comments on Thoughts on Theme by Claire M. Caterer + #Giveaway as of 6/19/2015 7:39:00 AM
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22. What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition

Ant-Man ThorWe’re halfway through both the actual calendar, and the Summer blockbuster season (which started in May).  Even though it feels like a Friday night at the video store circa 1990, there have been some amazing movies released so far. Dinosaurs are battling robots for box office supremacy, and Pixar is once again at the front of Best Animated Feature Oscar speculation with “Inside Out”.

Here’s the latest movie schedule, culled from various sources… Not much to update, except for the Smurfs getting an actual title.  There will probably be more after San Diego and D23.

NOTE:  My colleagues have noted the confusion over Warner Brothers’ superhero schedule.

To be clear: past Suicide Squad, Warners Brothers/DC Entertainment has not matched announced movies with opening dates.

So, you will see a listing like:

Unknown 2018 Flash


3/23/2018 Untitled DC 

That does not mean that there are two movies scheduled, only that DCE is planning movies, and has claimed dates. Other news sites have linked titles to dates. This has not been officially announced or confirmed by Warner Brothers, and until I see official confirmation, will continue to list the names and dates separately. When do I expect to see that confirmation? Either at a shareholder’s meeting, or sometime in July or August, just like last year. Like last year, I expect Marvel, via D23, to make a bigger splash than DC, although DC could try to win Comic-Con this year, given Marvel Studio’s suspected absence.

Updates are in bold.  I have included links back to Box Office Mojo, which is the source of this data.

Date Title Studio
7/10/2015 Minions Universal
7/17/2015 Ant-Man Marvel
7/24/2015 Pixels Sony/Columbia
8/7/2015 Fantastic Four Fox
8/14/2015 Underdogs (2014) (Metegol) Weinstein
10/23/2015 Jem and the Holograms Universal
11/6/2015 The Peanuts Movie Fox
11/25/2015 The Good Dinosaur Pixar
12/18/2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Disney
2/12/2016 Deadpool Fox
3/4/2016 Zootopia Disney
3/25/2016 Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice DCE
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War Marvel
5/27/2016 X-Men: Apocalypse Fox
6/3/2016 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Paramount
6/17/2016 Finding Dory Pixar
7/8/2016 ??? (Was Doctor Strange) Marvel
7/8/2016 Star Trek 3 Paramount
8/5/2016 Suicide Squad DCE
8/19/2016 Kubo and the Two Strings Focus/Laika
9/23/2016 Storks Warners
10/7/2016 Gambit Fox
10/7/2016 Monster High Universal
11/4/2016 Doctor Strange Marvel
11/18/2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Warners
11/23/2016 Moana Disney
12/16/2016 Rogue One Disney
12/25/2016 Nation Awakes Aamir Sajjad Ventures
1/13/2017 Power Rangers Lionsgate
2/10/2017 Untitled LEGO Batman Film Warners
3/3/2017 Untitled Wolverine Fox
3/10/2017 Captain Underpants Dreamworks
3/31/2017 Get Smurfy in 3D Sony
3/31/2017 Ghost in the Shell Disney
5/5/2017 Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Marvel
5/26/2017 Untitled LEGO Movie ? Warners
5/26/2017 Star Wars: Episode VIII Disney
6/9/2017 The Fantastic Four 2 Fox
6/16/2017 Toy Story 4 Pixar
6/23/2017 Untitled DC DCE
6/30/2017 Despicable Me 3 Universal
7/7/2017 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney
7/28/2017 Unititled Spider-Man Sony/Marvel
9/22/2017 Ninjago Warners
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok Marvel
11/17/2017 Untitled DC DCE
11/22/2017 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
2/9/2018 Untitled Warner Animation Group Project Warners
3/9/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
3/23/2018 Untitled DC DCE
5/4/2018 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 Marvel
5/18/2018 The LEGO Movie Sequel Warners
6/15/2018 Untitled Pixar Animation Pixar
7/6/2018 Black Panther Marvel
7/13/2018 Untitled Fox / Marvel Fox / Marvel
7/20/2018 Spider-Man (animated film) Sony
7/27/2018 Untitled DC DCE
11/2/2018 Captain Marvel Marvel
11/16/2018 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
11/21/2018 Untitled Disney Animation Disney
4/5/2019 Untitled DC DCE
5/3/2019 Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2 Marvel
5/24/2019 Untitled Warner Animated Film Warners
6/14/2019 Untitled DC DCE
7/12/2019 Inhumans Marvel
4/3/2020 Untitled DC DCE
6/19/2020 Untitled DC DCE
11/20/2020 Untitled WB Event Film Warners
Unknown 2016 Popeye Sony
Unknown 2016 Untitled Lego Movie Warners
Unknown 2017 Wonder Woman DCE
Unknown 2017 Justice League, Part One DCE
Unknown 2017 Lego Batman Warners
Unknown 2018 Flash DCE
Unknown 2018 Aquaman DCE
Unknown 2018 Lego Movie 2 Warners
Unknown 2018 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
Unknown 2019 Shazam DCE
Unknown 2019 Justice League Part Two DCE
Unknown 2020 Cyborg DCE
Unknown 2020 Green Lantern DCE
Unknown 2020 HP: Fantastic Beasts Warners
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 3 Sony
UNKNOWN The Amazing Spider-Man 4 Sony
UNKNOWN Untitled Frozen sequel Disney
UNKNOWN Incredibles 2 Disney
UNKNOWN Cars 3 Disney
UNKNOWN Sinister Six Sony


5 Comments on What?!? When!?!: Your Updated Comics Cinema Calendar, June 2015 Edition, last added: 6/21/2015
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23. J.K. Rowling Reveals Why the Dursleys Don’t Like Harry Potter

Did you ever wonder why the Dursleys hated the Potters?

J.K. Rowling has released a new piece of writing on Pottermore.com, the home of all things Harry Potter, which gives some background. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom.

Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold.

Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.

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24. J.K. Rowling on the Symbolism Behind Dumbledore and Hagrid’s Names

Pottermore Logo (GalleyCat)Five new essays were posted on the Pottermore website: “Alchemy,” “Vernon & Petunia,” “The Sword of Gryffindor,” “Extension Charms,” and “Hatstall.” Thanks to this new content, Harry Potter fans now know about the symbolism behind Albus Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid’s names.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!

Entertainment Weekly reports that “Rubeus and Albus are derived from red and white, two colors that are traditionally associated with alchemy…Hagrid represents the red base metal, which is associated with warmth and wildness, while Dumbledore is more in line with gold and the color white, which is impressive and intellectual, but can also be detached.” Together, these two characters make-up the ideal father figure for The Boy Who Lived.

Throughout the year, J.K. Rowling has revealed several new details about the Harry Potter series (primarily through Twitter). Readers have been made aware of the existence of an American wizarding school, that Moaning Myrtle’s full name is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren, and that Fred Weasley’s death at the Battle of Hogwarts \"was the worst for\" the author. Do you have any other burning questions that you wish Rowling would answer? (via TIME.com)

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25. New Harry Potter Play to Open at London’s West End in 2016

rowlingBack in 2013, J.K. Rowling announced that she would be working on a Harry Potter-related play. Over on Twitter, the author announced that Harry Potter And The Cursed Child will open at London’s West End in Summer 2016.

BBC News reports that Rowling collaborated with Jack Thorne, a seasoned playwright, and John Tiffany, the director, to create this original story. She revealed that the tale being told in this theatrical production should not be considered a “prequel,” but it does feature an “untold part of Harry’s story.”

At this point in time, no announcements have been made as to who will play The Boy Who Lived. We’ve collected all Rowling’s tweets about this project in a Storify post embedded below—what do you think? (via BuzzFeed.com)

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