New images from the first illustrated Harry Potter book released

Today, Bloomsbury Publishing and Scholastic, Inc. released four new images from the upcoming, fully-illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, to be released in October this year.

The pictures, illustrated by artist Jim Kay, depict four of the series’ key characters, Rubeus Hagrid, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy in stunning detail.

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Related: ‘Harry Potter’ to be transformed into new, fully illustrated editions by Jim Kay

The book will be published worldwide October 6, 2015, beginning the first series of fully-illustrated Harry Potter books. The books are planned to come out every year subsequently. As the press release reads, “The hardback edition will include ribbon marker, head and tail bands, illustrated endpapers and  artwork on every spread.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is currently available for pre-order on Bloomsbury’s website, featuring the following blurb:

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this deluxe full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

In addition to the new illustrated books, Bloomsbury will release a gift edition hardback of Philosopher’s Stone on February 5, coated in a “beautiful foiled cloth slipcase decorated with brand new line art by Jonny Duddle.” The book can be pre-ordered here.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrives on Pottermore

"Avada Kedavra" Moment from book six -- Copyright of Pottermore

“Avada Kedavra” Moment from book six — Copyright of Pottermore

The sixth Harry Potter book is now available on Pottermore.com after the site ran a Christmas campaign releasing one Moment from the new book a day over 12 days.

Trace the plot from the Unbreakable Vow made between Severus Snape and Narcissa Malfoy all the way through Dumbledore’s death and funeral in stunning new illustrations. In the Moments, discover never-before-released information from J.K. Rowling on Florean Fortescue’s Ghost Plot, Inferi, Draco Malfoy’s backstory, and much more.

Explore the new Half-Blood Prince Moments, with new content from J.K. Rowling, now >>

In addition to the book, two new Potions are available to brew, Doxycide and the Shrinking Solution. The new Moments are filled with Potion ingredients, so keep an eye on your discovery bar until it’s filled. If you haven’t checked your Gringotts balance lately, Pottermore added a few hundred Galleons to everyone’s account to buy ingredients in the Apothecary. So, get brewing this holiday break!

What do you think of the new Moments? What is your favorite new J.K. Rowling entry? Tell us in the comments below!

Pottermore’s 12 Days of Christmas Surprises

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This post will be updated every day of Pottermore’s Christmas celebration.

Last week, Pottermore announced their Christmas celebration, spanning from this Friday, December 12 until December 23. Over the course of the celebration, Pottermore plans to release a surprise to fans everyday, with gifts including new Moments from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, new writing from J.K. Rowling, additions to Potions, and more. The gifts are released on pottermore.com everyday at 1pm GMT (8am EST); all fans have to do is solve a simple riddle to unlock the gift. Otherwise, you can follow Pottermore’s releases on this post..

December 23:

Riddle Answer: Albus.

Surprise: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince concludes with Dumbledore’s funeral. Listen to the audiobook version as the headmaster is laid to rest and unlock new information by J.K. Rowling on the Order of Merlin honors.

From the entry:

The Order of Merlin, commemorating the most famous wizard of his time, has been given since the fifteenth century. Legend says that the green ribbon, on which the First Class Order hangs, is to reflect Merlin’s Hogwarts house.

December 22:

Riddle Answer: Draco Malfoy.

Surprise: In the penultimate Moment of Half-Blood Prince, Snape performs the Killing Curse on Dumbledore when Draco cannot complete the task. Click on Draco to unlock a substantial new entry from J.K. Rowling, in which she summarizes his life during his school years, including information on Lucius and Voldemort’s influence on his life. Her own thoughts on the character are in-depth as well, with comments on Draco’s personality and name, Tom Felton’s portrayal, and more.

From J.K. Rowling’s Thoughts:

I pity Draco, just as I feel sorry for Dudley. Being raised by either the Malfoys or the Dursleys would be a very damaging experience, and Draco undergoes dreadful trials as a direct result of his family’s misguided principles. However, the Malfoys do have a saving grace: they love each other. 

December 21:

Riddle Answer: Inferi

Surprise:  Dumbledore and Harry encounter Inferi inside the cave where Salazar Slytherin’s Locket is kept. Zoom in to see Dumbledore taking the Inferi head-on and to unlock a new entry from J.K. Rowling on Inferi. In addition to explaining the creatures, Rowling discusses the relation between Inferi and zombies and relays her reasoning to not “call the guardians of the locket Horcrux zombies.”

From the entry: “Lastly, zombies have been represented and reinterpreted on film so often in the last fifty years that they have a whole raft of associations that were of no use to me.  I’m part of the ‘Thriller’ generation; to me, a zombie will always mean Michael Jackson in a bright red bomber jacket.

December 20:

Riddle Answer: Room of Requirement.

Surprise: In the ninth Moment, Harry leaves the Half-Blood Prince’s Advanced Potion Making textbook in the Room of Hidden Things. No content to unlock, but a lot of things to play around with inside the room.

December 19:

Riddle Answer: Salazar Slytherin.

Surprise: Harry and Dumbledore watch on as Tom Riddle meets with Hepzibah Smith in the eighth Moment from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There is no new content to unlock.

December 18:

Riddle Answer: Apparition.

Surprise: Harry and his classmates learn the basic skills of Apparation from Wilkie Twycross, the Ministry Apparition Instructor, in the Great Hall. There is no new content to unlock, but a few collectible items to find, including Galleons.

December 17:

Riddle Answer: Luna Lovegood.

Surprise: In the sixth Moment from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry and friends attend Professor Slughorn’s holiday party. J.K. Rowling shares information about Vampires in Harry Potter, revealing early plans for a vampire Hogwarts professor named Trocar, and dispelling rumors that Professor Snape was a vampire. “In short,” the author concludes, “Snape is not a re-vamped Trocar.”

December 16:

Riddle Answer: Professor Dumbledore.

Surprise: Dumbledore and Harry use the Penseive to visit Dumbeldore’s memories with a young Tom Riddle. Again, there is no entry from J.K. Rowling to read, but there Pottermore did release another two-part Potion, the Shrinking Solution. Brewing both the Shrinking Solution and Doxycide will earn users the Practical Potion-Maker badge.

December 15:

Riddle Answer: Chaser.

Surprise: Katie Bell is cursed in the snowy fourth Moment of Half-Blood Prince, from chapter twelve. There is no J.K. Rowling content to read, but many collectible item for one’s trunk. Pottermore also added the Book of Potions to Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley, which members can purchase using Galleons. By purchasing the book, users can brew a new, two-part Potion, Doxycide.

December 14:

Riddle Answer: Professor Slughorn.

Surprise: The third Moment of Half-Blood Prince, in which Harry’s Potions class is brewing Felix Felicis (chapter 9). Along with many collectible potion ingredients, there are two entries from J.K. Rowling to be discovered in the Potions classroom, subjected on Cauldrons and Potions.

From J.K. Rowling’s Thoughts on “Potions”: Chemistry was my least favourite subject at school, and I gave it up as soon as I could.  Naturally, when I was trying to decide which subject Harry’s arch-enemy, Severus Snape, should teach, it had to be the wizarding equivalent.  

Screenshot 2014-12-13 at 06.19.13 PMDecember 13:

Riddle Answer: Diagon Alley.

Surprise: The second Moment of Half-Blood Prince, from chapter six, depicting Fred and George’s joke shop in Diagon Alley. J.K. Rowling gives insight into the history of the Leaky Cauldron pub, as well as the ghost-plot of Florean Fortescue, the ice-cream parlor owner.

December 12:

Riddle Answer: Professor Snape.

Surprise: First moment of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, depicting the second chapter of the book. In the Moment, discover new information from J.K. Rowling about the town of Cokeworth, where Severus Snape and Lily and Petunia Evans grew up. Pottermore also rewarded all users with 300 Galleons to their Gringotts account.

Pottermore announces Christmas campaign for Half-Blood Prince

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This year, Christmas comes early to Pottermore with brand new writing from J.K. Rowling, new Moments from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and more.

Today, Pottermore announced their Christmas campaign to coincide with the website’s release of daily surprises starting next Friday, December 12. From that date until December 23, Pottermore will be releasing a treat everyday at 1pm GMT (8am EST), with treats ranging from new potions to original content from J.K. Rowling on Draco Malfoy and the ghost plot of Florean Fortescue, to be found in new Moments from Half-Blood Prince.

To keep up with the #PottermoreChristmas celebration, be sure to subscribe to Pottermore’s Facebook event and keep up with their Twitter and the Insider. The fun begins next Friday on pottermore.com…

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan Celebrates Grand Opening

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan opened on Tuesday, July 15.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan opened on Tuesday, July 15.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan celebrated their grand opening this week with J.K. Rowling, Tom Felton, and Evanna Lynch all in attendance. Tom and Evanna played Draco Malfoy and Luna Lovegood, respectively, in the Harry Potter films.

As planned, on Tuesday, July 15 the park was opened by Tom and Evanna with Glen Gumpel, the President and CEO of Universal Studios Japan. According to the press release, “Mr. Felton and Ms. Lynch led the guests with the Revelio spell as the archway was filled with smoke, which slowly lifted to reveal Hogsmeade village prompting cheers from waiting park guests. Then so many guests stepped into Hogsmeade village with excitement and were welcomed by Hogsmeade villagers.”

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On Monday, J.K. Rowling enjoyed a private visit to the park with her family. She commented on the experience in a statement that was included in the press release:

“The craft and attention to detail across The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan is incredible and I will take away the memory of Hogwarts castle reflected on the Black Lake in particular. I’m delighted that Harry fans in Japan and around Asia can experience a physical incarnation that is so close to what I imagined when writing the books,” said J.K. Rowling.

Check out these pictures of her visiting the park:

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In comparison, the WWoHP in Japan features most of what the Orlando location has to offer, with the exception of the Dueling Dragons ride. However, Japan includes aspects that aren’t at Orlando, including the Black Lake and the Forbidden Forest. The new park cost 45 billion yen ($442.2 million) to construct.

With the Japan park and Orlando expansion now open, there’s one more Wizarding World still being built. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is set to open in 2016.

Behind the Bricks: A Tour of Diagon Alley with Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis

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Unlike their ‘Harry Potter’ characters Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy, Matthew Lewis and Tom Felton are great friends in real life. Here they are spotted at the New York premiere of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

Today, Harry Potter film stars Matthew Lewis and Tom Felton took us on a tour, via live webcast, of the new addition of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They began by entering through the brick passageway to Diagon Alley, and were soon joined by Alan Gilmore, Art Director of the Harry Potter Films & The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Alan revealed that he has been on the Wizarding World project for four years, and that he enjoys every minute of it.

The first stop on the tour was for Tom to exchange his Muggle currency for a Gringotts bank note that is redeemable at many Wizarding World establishments. Next, Matthew decides to head to Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment while Alan takes Tom to a show. The show turns out to be an amazing puppet reenactment of “The Tale of the Three Brothers” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I.

We then find Matthew preparing to send a letter and stamping it with a Gryffindor seal. He explains that, in Wiseacre’s, you can stamp letters with a variety of colors of sealing wax and with the Hogwarts house seal of your choosing.

Cut back to Tom and Alan at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. Tom and Alan are about to try some delicious butterbeer ice cream just as Matthew meets up with them and samples some as well.

Tom then announces, “I’m gonna go somewhere where I feel slightly more comfortable…down to Knockturn Alley!” Matthew and Alan decide to forego the dark arts experience and journey to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Matthew admires the establishment, saying, “This is absolutely spectacular!” He also says to Alan, in reference of the Weasley twin feature outside of the shop, “I’ve got to ask a question, before we go any further…is it Fred or George?” Alan says he thinks it’s Fred because of the way he stands and the way he holds his hat. Matthew says that it’s been a constant debate between James and Oliver Phelps and Alan tells Matthew to have them practice the moves so he can determine exactly who it is.

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The entrance to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes

Tom meets up with the two just in time to head into the Weasley’s store. Just like his character Draco Malfoy, he got the chance to go to Borgin and Burkes and witness the Hand of Glory. Inside of the Weasley joke shop, we get to see extendable ears, chattering teeth, and pygmy puffs. Tom picks out a special pink pygmy puff keychain for Matthew, and Matthew returns the favor by selecting a Dark Mark lollipop for Tom! Tom says, “Would you lick my Dark Mark lollipop?” and Matthew laughingly replies, “No, I’m alright.” Alan takes them over to the infamous Skiving Snackbox section where they find U-No-Poo and Puking Pastille treats.

“This has just been a brilliant journey—turning the films into reality,” exclaims Alan. He reveals that they actually feature many of the original Harry Potter movie props and details at the Wizarding World!

Next, the trio witness the dragon on top of Gringotts Bank breathing fire. Matthew excitedly says, “It’s looks absolutely spot-on from the film!” They go into Gringotts, and see the statue of the original Gringotts goblin in the plaza in front of the bank. The magnificent chandelier—with 17,000 crystals—and extremely lifelike goblins greet them, just as they would have in the films! Matthew and Tom, of course, already have Gringotts bank accounts. The three decide to have a go on the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride to end their adventure, and bid us a fond farewell!

Check back with Pottermore News frequently in the next few weeks for any and all details about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley grand opening on July 8, 2014!

Images courtesy of Canada.com and Inside the Magic.