Pictures: J.K. Rowling visits British School in Nepal

J.K. Rowling made an unannounced trip to Nepal on Friday on invitation from the British embassy, according to Cinema Times.

Nepal borders India to the Northeast; Rowling made the trip on a private jet with her family. In the country, Rowling read excerpts from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at The British School in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. A news site reported that Rowling interacted with the students and took their questions.

In a radio interview, Rowling said she came to Nepal to visit her friend, British Defense Attache Colonel Sean Harris. Regarded by Rowling as her best and oldest friend, Sean was the inspiration for Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter books. (Source)

Jo spoke about the visit, saying, “It’s my first time in Nepal… I have to say I have absolutely loved being here. It’s a beautiful place. I’d love to come back again. I’d love to come back to Kathmandu… it’s been the most marvelous experience.”

In addition to Friday’s event, the author will reportedly attend a program at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Kathmandu on Saturday. According to the interview, Rowling’s visit will last a quick 4 days.

Here are some unofficial pictures from the Nepal visit, via Twitter.

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Pottermore adds new Beautification Potion and Bertie Botts Badge

This week, Pottermore added a new potion and achievement badge to the site for users to enjoy.

On Thursday, Pottermore published its Guide to Potions Class to the Insider, which gives helpful hints to aspiring Potion Masters. Along with this guide, once again Pottermore shortened the length of time it takes to brew a potion, and they changed the number of house points a potion is worth.

Most significantly, they added Zygmunt Budge’s Beautification Potion, straight out of the Book of Potions. It is a two-part potion that takes at least an hour and a half to brew, depending on your cauldron. Ingredients for the potion cost a total of 24 galleons and include the “Perfect Rose” and “Morning Dew”. It is worth 40 house points, so its well worth the time and effort!

In honor of Ron Weasley’s birthday, Pottermore made a new “Bertie Bott’s Collectors Badge” available to users to earn.

beansFrom the Insider:

From the disgusting (fish, phlegm, troll bogies and tripe) to the delicious (chocolate, cherry, marshmallow and marmalade), every mouthful is a risk when it comes to Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. In celebration of Ron’s birthday today, we’ve a present he would certainly relish: you can now earn our new Bertie Bott’s Collectors Badge by finding 35 Every-Flavour Beans on pottermore.com. If you’ve a sweet-tooth you may already have discovered 30, but we’ve just hidden five new flavours in Moments across the site – can you sniff them all out?

For help, Pottermore offered a hint to finding one of the new beans: “it’s delicious (although not quite Drooble’s) and its flavour is Moste Potente…” and encourages users to keep an eye on their Moment progress bar to look out for Moments that are not complete now because of the beans.

Visit Pottermore.com to enjoy these new updates, along with never-before released from J.K. Rowling about the world of Harry Potter.

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.

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!

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.

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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.