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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Highlights of the Quidditch World Cup Final

BsShUj6CcAEreseIn case you missed it, Bulgaria won the 2014 Quidditch World Cup final. You can read our full summary here, and J.K. Rowling’s official report here via Pottermore.

For those of you who don’t want to read the whole report, here are some of the important highlights of the game:

  • J.K. Rowling reported on the event in the voice of Quidditch correspondent Ginny Potter and columnist Rita Skeeter
  • Pre-match show: The Bulgarians brought Veelas, and Brazil, Curupiras. As usual, the men were enamored with the Veelas, but the Curupiras were more of an all-around crowd-pleaser. “The opening ceremony concluded with an interesting Veela/Curupira pyramid formation,” Ginny wrote.
  • Almost everyone in the VIP box was supporting Bulgaria, except Harry’s son, Albus, who was decked out in green in support of Brazil. Hermione, on the other hand, did not lend her support for either team. (“Does she secretly hope to see Krum take the trophy at last? Or is this the kind of diplomatic neutrality one might expect of a ruthless careerist whose long-term ambition is undoubtedly to be Minister for Magic?“)
  • Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley put on a very public display of affection at the Cup, much to the disapproval of Bill Weasley.
  • Neville Longbottom was at the game, and his actions only encouraged the already established rumors that he is a drunk. We also learn that Neville is Albus’s godfather.
  • Luna Lovegood was passing out snacks in the VIP box. We later learn that Luna’s wedding dress, with rainbows, spangles and a tiara of silver unicorn horns, was voted “Most Hideous Outfit of the Year” by Rita Skeeter’s readers.
  • Luna’s husband, Rolf Scamander accompanied his wife to the event. (“While Lovegood and Scamander appear to be holding hands in the VIP box, this might well be because Rolf is trying to prevent his wife from putting on one of her famous Special Event Hats.“) Rolf was in conversation with Charlie Weasley (a.k.a. “The Unmarried Weasley)
  • Ron and Hermione’s children look like their parents – Rose with her father’s “unfortunate” hair, and Hugo with his mother’s “bushy locks.”
  • Percy Weasley is “greying and balding,” and is now Head of the Department of Magical Transportation, and is known as a “nit-picking bureaucrat” by his political opponents.
  • Geroge Weasley has only one ear and was at the event with his wife, Angelina, and their kids, Fred and Roxanne. Against rumors that the Weasleys are having marital troubles, Ginny reaffirms Rita that Angelina left their house to help care for her ailing father.
  • Viktor Krum caught the Snitch 2 hours and 45 minutes into the game in a race with Brazilian Seeker Silva. Final score: 60-170.
  • And finally: Rita Skeeter fell unaccountably ill after the game as a result of a jinx to the solar plexus.

J.K. Rowling updates readers on lives of Harry, Ron, Hermione and others

Dumbledore's Army is reunited at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup

Dumbledore’s Army is reunited at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup

For the first time since the epilogue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling is providing a glimpse into Harry Potter’s life post-Hogwarts.

Amongst wizard rockstars and magical dignitaries, members of Dumbledore’s Army made an appearance in the Patagonian Desert for the 2014 Quidditch World Cup final this week. In a new Daily Prophet article released today on Pottermore, J.K. Rowling writes from the perspective of the infamous prying journalist Rita Skeeter, who is keeping a watchful eye over Harry Potter and his family and friends at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup final.

Skeeter updates readers on the lives of the thirty-something year old members of Dumbledore’s Army, starting off with Harry himself, now 34 with some threads of silver in his famously jet-black hair. Harry is accompanied by his sons James and Albus in the Patagonian, where their mother, Ginny has been reporting on the Cup for weeks.

Skeeter speculates on Ginny’s placement in the Daily Prophet: “The jury is out on whether she really had the talent or experience to be sent to the Quidditch World Cup (jury’s back in – no!!!) but let’s face it, when your last name is Potter, doors open, international sporting bodies bow and scrape, and Daily Prophet editors hand you plum assignments.”

Rita also provides a look into the lives of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, two thirds of the Golden Trio. Ron, we learn, worked in the Ministry of Magic after the war, but left to help out his brother George in running the wildly successful Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes. Hermione, on the other hand, rose quickly through the ranks of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and is “tipped to go even higher,” according to Skeeter. “Does Hermione Granger prove that a witch really can have it all? (No — look at her hair.)” Skeeter adds.

Besides Harry, Ron, and Hermione, Skeeter lets readers in on the lives of Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and other Weasley family members who have been spotted in the Patagonian Desert. Rita even got a jab in at Harry’s godson, Teddy Lupin, who “has been behaving in  a way unbefitting for wizarding royalty.” We find Teddy just where we left him, in a budding relationship with Victoire Weasley.

Where are your favorite characters now? Find out in Rita Skeeter’s column in today’s Daily Prophet, only on Pottermore.com.

J.K. Rowling will be returning to Pottermore this Wednesday and Friday with complete coverage of the Quidditch World Cup final. Stay tuned!

Viktor Krum returns in Quidditch World Cup Game Six

We last saw Viktor Krum in Goblet of Fire. Above is a portrait of Krum from the film adaption.

We last saw Viktor Krum in Goblet of Fire. Above is a portrait of Krum from the film adaption.

The memorable Bulgarian Seeker Viktor Krum returned to the game of Quidditch in game six of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup between Bulgaria and New Zealand.

In a new article in the Daily Prophet on Pottermore, Ginny Potter (J.K. Rowling) chronicled 38 year-old Viktor Krum’s return to Quidditch following retirement. Readers last saw Krum in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire playing for Bulgaria in the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. He was also a Durmstrang student at Hogwarts, participating in the Triwizard Tournament.

From the article:

Twice runners-up in the last fifty years, the current Bulgarian side showed flashes of inspiration as they racked up an impressive score against the six-strong Kiwis.  Two players – Levski and Vulchanov – had fathers on the 1994 side that introduced an eighteen-year-old Viktor Krum to the world.  One of the headline stories of the current World Cup is, of course, Krum’s re-emergence from retirement.  At thirty-eight he is the oldest player in the competition, and has faced stiff criticism for taking the place of a younger player on what some have called ‘sentimental’ grounds.

Visit Pottermore.com to find out how Krum and the rest of the Bulgarian team fared against New Zealand.

There are two more games in the first round of the Cup, and then the teams will move onto the semi finals. The winner of the Bulgaria – New Zealand game will face Norway in the semi final rounds.

J.K. Rowling talks with Emma Watson about Harry Potter pairings, Fantastic Beasts, and Harry Potter play

Selfies of J.K. (published in Wonderland, via JKRowling.com)

Selfies, J.K. style. (published in Wonderland, via JKRowling.com)

The full conversation between J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson has been published in Wonderland Magazine.

This month’s issue of the magazine was edited by Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson, for which she conducted an interview with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. In their conversation, they discussed the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the newly announced Harry Potter play, and, of course, the pairing of Ron and Hermione. Comments made by Rowling during this part of the interview caused an uproar throughout the fandom, but for the first time we can decipher her statements in their entirety (it was originally excerpted by the Sunday Times).

The Hermione topic was brought on by Emma, who asked Jo if she had a new perspective on Hermione, post-writing. It was then that Jo made the “infamous” comments that sparked outrage, and new shipping wars:

Watson: I thought we should discuss Hermione… I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but now that you have written the books, do you have a new perspective on how you relate to Hermione and the relationship you have with her or had with her?

Rowling: I know that Hermione is incredibly recognisable to a lot of readers and yet you don’t see a lot of Hermiones in film or on TV except to be laughed at. I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside.

What I will say is that I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron.

Ah.

I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.

I don’t know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.

Yes exactly.

And vice versa.

It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it… I’m not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can’t believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!

Later on in the interview, Rowling admitted that Ron and Hermione would have needed marriage counseling. She also delves into the dynamics of Hermione and Harry’s relationship, specifically in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Jo and Emma also discussed the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, and Jo revealed she wrote the first draft of the film in an astonishing twelve days.

Rowling: Warner Bros. came to me ages ago and said they wanted to do something with Fantastic Beasts. I could see the potential in it. I knew something about Newt [Scamander, the fictional author of Fantastic Beasts] having written a little something for Comic Relief. I had imagined a little bit of back story for him…

So when Warner Bros. came to me and said they wanted to make a film out of the book I had this simultaneous feeling of “it has a lot of potential,” and another feeling of slight panic that “I know some things about Newt and I don’t want you to ruin that for me!” because I knew who he was. So then I went away and sort of dwelt on what I knew about Newt, not intending to write a script but just trying to collect my thoughts so that I could at least give them the backstory I’d imagined, so that their vision was true to what I knew.

Then I really did have one of those moments that always make you phenomenally excited as a writer; but also that you know is going to end up being a ton of work. I thought, “Oh my God, a whole plot’s just descended on me!” But I wanted to do it as I was really excited about it. I wasn’t really thinking about writing the script myself, I thought, you know, I’ll give them this plot and then – fatally – I sat down and thought “I just wonder what it would look like…” and wrote a rough draft in twelve days!

Along with this, the two talked about the upcoming Harry Potter stage play, and her peculiar wishes for Fantastic Beasts.

You also announced that you’re going to collaborate on a theatre production.

Yes that was a really interesting idea that Sonia Friedman came up with. I’ve been so resistant for a long time about theatre productions. Quite a few people wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. I didn’t really see Harry as a musical so we said no to all of that, but Sonia came along with a very thoughtful, very interesting idea. I’m quite excited about that.

Will Hermione be in it?!

Well Emma if you are offering to play Hermione… [both laugh] I tell you what I really want. I want you and Dan and Rupert in really heavy make-up in the background of a scene in Fantastic Beasts, and I’ll join you and we’ll sit in a bar room having a laugh for an afternoon. Do you not think that would be fantastic?

That sounds like the most fun I can imagine having!

And we can mess around as extras in the background.

And then we can see if anyone can spot us. I personally would like to be in drag, just to make sure no one can spot me at all.

GENIUS!

As well as this, Rowling talks about her greatest achievements and getting ideas in the interview. You can read the full interview here on the author’s website.

What do you think about Jo’s comments having heard the full story? Would you like to see her in Fantastic Beasts? Tell us in the comments below!

J.K. Rowling Expresses Regret Pairing Ron and Hermione

Harry-Ron-and-Hermione-Wallpaper-harry-ron-and-hermione-25679369-1024-768Well, here’s a shocker for all you Romione fans and shippers: While being interviewed for Wonderland by Hermione Granger portrayer Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling admitted that she regrets pairing Ron and Hermione together at the end of the Harry Potter series.

Rowling actually stated that, logically, Hermione should have ended up with Harry, and that she only decided on the Ron/Hermione relationship “as a form of wish fulfillment.” From the very beginning, the plan was already set in place to have Ron and Hermione end up together, and Rowling could not tear herself away from clinging to that original plotline.

“I know, I’m sorry,” she said, “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”

Watson, who is a guest editor for Wonderland for the month of February, was not entirely surprised by this shocking admission, and confessed that she agrees with Rowling. “I think there are fans out there who know that too,” she said, “and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.” In an indirect response to Watson’s statement, Rowling did state that Ron and Hermione would have definitely needed some serious counseling in their relationship.

Harry-y-hermione-harry-and-hermione-17302667-500-375

If we consider that Hermione and Harry had been the pair who eventually wed, Rose and Hugo Weasley and James, Albus, and Lily Potter would be nonexistent–and Ron and Ginny would have married different spouses. Rowling also revealed that she “seriously considered” killing off Ron at one point, so if that had actually happened, we are again left to wonder where Hermione’s and Harry’s paths would have led them.

Tell us below: What are your thoughts on this latest admission from Rowling? Do you think Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny belong together, or that Hermione and Harry should have been together at the end?

Images courtesy of FanPop! and Harry Potter Wiki

Pottermore releases first chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 3, Chapter 6, Moment 3As planned, today Pottermore launched the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

In the first installment, which includes the first seven chapters, users will discover new content from J.K. Rowling on Marge Dursley, enjoy animations of Hedwig, explore the Knight Bus, and much more.

We’ve only had time to explore the first few chapters but already think that it is a major improvement from the second book. The artwork is clearer and more beautiful as ever. Harry, Ron and Hermione also look like they have aged (that had been a complaint in the second book). Interestingly, we have discovered no mini-games, but there might be in some of the later chapters.

So, go on and explore the first chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Pottermore.

Update: 

The Pottermore Insider has been updated with the announcement of the book launch. Here is an excerpt:

Board the Knight Bus, enlist the help of Sir Cadogan, attend a Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, and much more.

There are also five new exclusive content entries from J.K. Rowling to discover, including additional information on Aunt Marge.