Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter announced

Well now I have goosebumps. Take a look at the concept art, then read the news report at The Leaky Cauldron.

Pottermania in Tucson, AZ

Humming Horcruxes, Harry! My hometown of Tucson, AZ is going to host both Harry and the Potters and PotterCast!

Date: June 21, 2007
PotterCast: 4:00pm at Borders Books and Music, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. (Park Place Mall)
Harry Potter Party: 6:00pm at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Lower Level Meeting Room
Harry and the Potters Concert: 7:00pm at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Lower Level Meeting Room

The Knight Bus will make a stop in Phoenix on July 3rd, and my library system is planning additional parties for July 10th and 11th.

I feel like something blibbering.

J.K. Rowling to appear on the BBC's Blue Peter TV show

We will have the transcript for you as soon as we can! The show will be recorded on July 5th; the broadcast date is unknown. Link: Announcement and contest info.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Theme Listing: Wands

AQ staffer Meann has created a new theme listing for everything Jo has said about wands in interviews or on her website. Nice work, Meann!

PotterCast interview of Arthur Levine added

Well, it was broadcast over a year ago, but here it is, Melissa Anelli's extensive interview of Rowling's American editor, Arthur Levine.

This interview provides the most authoritative information on how Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone got to be published in America, why the title was changed, what Scholastic's editing process is like -- everything.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothing earthshaking

I just finished a re-read of the series and I was surprised to find that two things that I thought were mysteries are answered pretty well in the books. I have had very little time on the fan forums for nearly two years, so others have probably figured this stuff out long ago!

First of all, I am certain that Petunia's "awful boy" (OP2) was probably James and not Sirius. She never reacts at all when she hears Sirius's name or sees his photograph, and "awful boy" is definitely in keeping with the way she refers to James. I suppose it could also be Snape, but he's a long shot.

Second of all, it seems pretty clear that Bertha Jorkins was tattling on James to Dumbledore (GF30) -- I don't know why this point seemed so obscure when we were trying to figure this out on HPANA so long ago. Several times Rowling tells us that James liked to hex people for the fun of it and that just fits too well to ignore.

However I think I found some new (to me) things that make me go Hmmmm...

  • Regarding Harry's eyes, when the advanced guard sees Harry for the first time, someone says something to the effect that Harry's green eyes are what keeps him from looking entirely like James. This convinces me even more that what is important about his eyes is not magical, but the emotional effect that his gaze has on people who loved Lily.
  • Umbridge's rings: Might there be some significance to the "ugly, old-fashioned" rings that Umbridge wears? They are mentioned quite frequently, noticeably when Umbridge touches Harry during detention and his scar hurts for the first time that year at Hogwarts. My first thought was that one was a possible Horcrux, but then I realized that it's unlikely that there is a second ring Horcrux. Okay, okay, I know: long shot.
  • Handedness: Harry is right-handed, right? He tells Ollivander so as he is being measured for his wand (PS5). I guess that it is no surprise that everyone aims for his wand arm. First in book 2 when he is injured at Quidditch and Lockhart removes the bones (CS10), then in his first Triwizard task and the Horntail rakes Harry's shoulder (GF20), then again when Pettigrew draws Harry's blood for Voldemort's rebirthing (GF32). I'm not saying there's anything deep here, it is just an observation.
  • Dobby as secret-keeper: I need to go look at the secret-keeper rules again, but in book 4, Dobby lets it slip that he"is proud to keep his secrets and our silence for him [Dumbledore]."(GF21). Dobby may be another source (besides Aberforth) for information on Dumbledore.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Warner Brothers launches official site for fifth movie

I am really enjoying the newly redesigned website for the Order of the Phoenix movie!

What do I love? The music. All the new themes are just perfect: by turns ominous, light and goofy (love the oboes), and soaringly joyous. I also love how the music is continuous so as you go from one page or section to another, so the music is not stopped and started again. This is a score I will be buying!

And computer desktops! My computer monitor now sports a gorgeous image of Sirius with the Black Family Tree behind him. Awesome.

One more thing, I think the calligraphy-like frame is gorgeous and very original. I haven't seen this interesting an interpretation since the map in the third movie.

There is a British version of the movie site too. My favorite conceit there is the zooming crystal ball prophecy orb.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Spoiler Zone

Jo posted to her website diary today to reiterate her opinion on spoilers and the lowlifes who will be trying to ruin the surprises she has in store for us.

It may seem obvious that Accio Quote!, as a site that collects interviews of author J.K. Rowling, would not print spoilers. We're not really a news site, though we try to post new interviews as quickly as possible.

But I want to say here that Accio Quote! will not print anything about the plot specifics of Book 7 from unofficial sources, and if an official source slips up and blurts something out about the Giant Squid, we won't print that either -- until the book is out for a few days. Examples of official sources would be Jo herself, Arthur A. Levine, Stephen Fry, and Jim Dale, all people whom we are certain will be careful about what they say. We will also continue our policy of posting non-Jo interviews to this blog but not the main website.

And I implore you, please don't attempt to spoil me or other AQ staff by e-mail. We're fans too and we desperately don't want this moment ruined.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

And after Book 7? New quotes list on Accio Quote!

Today rumors are flying about a possible encyclopedia that Jo might write about Harry's world, so I combed through the archive and started a page for statements she's made about her plans after Book 7. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Scammer tries to rip off Potter fans

Do you know how Jo is always alerting us to scams? I want to make sure that no one wastes their money on an ebook that purports to provide the key to all the answers to Book 7. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Here's the scam: He claims to be a private investigator who has spent 7 years compiling information from the books and interviews and developed a key that provides all the answers. It must not be much because in order to sweeten the deal, he offers copious amounts of bonus material he claims to have created himself. Don't believe it -- this bonus material is all from the Lexicon, from Accio Quote, and from Jo’s website. Much of what he is selling is available for FREE!

The Lexicon's lawyer has sent him a cease and desist letter. They are suing him for "unfair competition through [his] fraudulent, deceptive and dishonest trade practices."

This scumbag is advertising his book on fan forums and in local (Utah) newspapers. Don't get taken in, OK?

Monday, May 07, 2007

8 months in the making: the Lexicon's new Canon Portkey

Portus! Last night the Harry Potter Lexicon launched our most ambitious project ever: the Canon Portkey.

Clint Hagen, the programmer for the Harry Potter Lexicon spent 8 months, produced over 7000 lines of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. John Kearns spent that time paraphrasing every single event in the whole Potter series, noting the page numbers, main characters, setting and time period, etc. Whoa.

Why? So that Harry Potter fans can search the events of the books and organize the them (and the rest of the canon) anyway they want via tagging and bookmarking. Legally.

Many others helped. We had a small army doing data entry and as this group got larger and larger, Bel stepped in and did her own management magic to keep everything rolling along. My role was in pestering Steve about having a new design and then wishing (sometimes) that I hadn't volunteered =). I am very proud of it now, and an chomping at the bit to convert more of the Lexicon now that the Portkey is launched.

What does it do? It is a:
  • Location finder. Let's say you can't remember if Jo told us something in the books or in an interview. The Portkey will find it for you and tell you what page it is on for both the UK and US editions
  • New path to the Lexicon's information. I write for them and I still have a hard time finding things because it is so huge. The Portkey will take you to the Lexicon's pages that are entirely focused on what you are looking for, and then let you tag and save them. It is like having your own Potter secretary.
  • Mashup tool. If you use the icon search you can mash up one set of data with another. Let's say you are building a conspiracy theory and you want to find the places where the Ministry of Magic had dealings with Death Eaters. Mash the Ministry icon with the Death Eater icon and up pops all of your links.
  • Community tool. What do others think of your favorite passages? You can see the most popular tags for any event in canon.
  • Empowerment. You organize canon the way makes the most sense to you. Did we leave out a detail that is important to you? Add it yourself as a tag.
This whole thing was Steve's idea. It came to him one day in a dream and he knew he had to make it happen. When he told us about it it was difficult to conceptualize. I tried to understand what he meant by researching online textual indices for the Bible and Shakespeare. Then I'd show them to Steve he'd say "Sort of, but it also does this, this and this." Thank goodness his vision was strong because we all had a hard time grasping what he meant.