Monday, December 31, 2007

“J.K. Rowling, A Year in the Life” available online

Yesterday's ITV1 broadcast of “J.K. Rowling, A Year in the Life” is now online for everyone to view! There are a few ads first. Thanks ITV.

On the whole I thought the show was lovely, although unlike the famous BBC “Harry Potter and Me” show, there is little new canon.

However, I think the title is a misnomer. Rather than being entirely about “a year,” we get a nice look at Jo’s roots with highlights of events from 2007. Among these are the moment she finishes Deathly Hallows (January 11), the hand off of the manuscript to her agent, a meeting of the worldwide publishers, footage of the book being printed, the OotP film premiere, the book launch at the Natural History Museum (and bits from world launches), at home baking in her kitchen for her son David’s birthday, and at a planning session for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

Other highlights:
  • it is lovely to see Jo with her sister Di joking about old photographs,
  • a stronger sense of place for towns where Jo spent her childhood,
  • she is franker than I can remember about her relationship with her father,
  • watching Jo draw the family trees of Harry and his friends,
  • the wrenching scene in her old flat in Leith.
What were your favorite bits, or observations?

Make your own wands

I'm always on the lookout for Potter crafts for our library's Potter parties, so I was very happy to see excellent instructions on for making wands out of paper, acrylic paint and glue from a glue gun. These are as good as some wooden wands I've seen! Appropriate for teens with supervision because of the glue gun. Hmmm. Perhaps you could use glitter glue instead...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Canon summaries posted

The canon summaries for the last several interviews have been posted on the 2007 listing over on Accio Quote!

The big news today is that the third trailer for the December 30 ITV1 documentary contains information on the second generation of Harry's friends and their families. All three trailers are available on The Leaky Cauldron's YouTube page, and Jo's diagrams of the families is above.

Update: The door on Jo's Website is open with the drawing of the tree with additional information on Draco's family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New JKR feature in Time Magazine

Time Magazine has announced that author J.K. Rowling was a runner-up for the 2007 "Person of the Year." The current issue of the news magazine has a lengthy article and Jo's answers to ten questions! So here is the new quotage and canon:

"Runner-up: J.K. Rowling" by Nancy Gibbs
  • Although the bible verse "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" on James and Lily's grave is the "theme for the entire series," Jo is not trying to convert her readers to Christianity.
  • "It is perfectly possible to live a very moral life without a belief in God, and I think it's perfectly possible to live a life peppered with ill-doing and believe in God."
  • "I'm opposed to fundamentalism in any form," she says. "And that includes in my own religion."
  • On Wizard rock activism: "It's incredible, it's humbling, and it's uplifting to see people going out there and doing that in the name of your character," [...] "What did my books preach against throughout? Bigotry, violence, struggles for power, no matter what. All of these things are happening in Darfur. So they really couldn't have chosen a better cause."
  • "He's [Harry's] still mine," she says. "Many people may feel that they own him. But he's a very real character to me, and no one's thought about him more than I have."
  • On the epilogue: "I kept arguing that 'love is the most important force, love is the most important force.' So I wanted to show him loving. Sometimes it's dramatic: it means you lay down your life. But sometimes it means making sure someone's trunk is packed and hoping they'll be O.K. at school."
  • Jo is currently writing two books: an adult novel and a "political fairy tale."
  • "If, and it's a big if, I ever write an eighth book about the [wizarding ] world, I doubt that Harry would be the central character," she says. "I feel like I've already told his story. But these are big ifs. Let's give it 10 years and see how we feel then."
Rowling Answers 10 Questions About Harry
  • JKR chose the people who came to walk with Harry in the forest as he was going to his death because they were in some way were parental for him, or gave up their lives for him.
  • Having Harry's blood in him was a bit of "goodness" for Voldemort, and gave him one last chance. If he had repented he would have been healed to a remarkable extent.
  • Voldemort's Avada Kedavra succeeded in "killing the part of him that is not truly him, in other words, the fragment of Voldemort's own soul that is still clinging to his. The curse also disables Harry severely enough that he could have succumbed to death if he had chosen that path."
  • Harry was right to feel repulsed by the baby-like remains of Voldemort's shattered soul.
  • What did Dumbledore really see in the Mirror of Erised?
    JKR: "His family, alive and whole and reconciled."
  • Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through the Peverells, but you could say the same about Harry and most other wizarding familes.
  • Draco Malfoy marries Astoria Greengrass, the "younger sister of the Greengrass family."
  • Jo repeats her earlier assertion that Ron's adult career was working at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, where he "does very well."
  • Tonks was a Hufflepuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Roonwit's list of new canon

Roonwit has made a summary of the new canon in the PotterCast interview! Here it is for your reading pleasure...

Rowling on PotterCast!
The first part of Jo's PotterCast appearance in now up. There are summaries of what was said below. There are of course SPOILERS included.

  • Helga Hufflepuff gave the Hogwarts House Elves good working conditions (which was the moral thing to do at that time).
  • In The Tales of Beedle the Bard
    • The Wizard and the Hopping Pot - the moral is to teach young witches and wizards to use magic altruistically
    • The Fountain of Fair Fortune - (her favourite) about the qualities you need to achieve your heart's desire (magic isn't the best option).
    • The Warlock's Hairy Heart - A dark, gothic tale. Voldemort would have done well to know this one before starting his reign of terror.
    • Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump - (a stupid title) one witch's revenge on muggle persecution.
  • Beedle the Bard was originally invisaged as about 30 tales but shrank to 5 when Jo realised she was going to hand write them.
  • Horcri was considered as the plural to Horcruxes, but Jo didn't want it too similar to inferi.
  • The first Horcrux was probably made by Herpo the Foul [cf. the Basilisk entry in Fantastic Beasts].
  • The making of a Horcrux is a dangerous and evil thing, one of two things Jo considers might be too horrible to explain (the other is how Wormtail fashioned the child-like body for Voldemort).
  • John Dawlish was originally powerful, but was weakened by Dumbledore's and subsequent attacks on him. However Augusta Longbottom is still a formidable opponent.
  • Being gay in the Wizarding world is less of an issue (to those who care about such things) than blood status.
  • Dumbledore, the great defender of the power of love, was made a fool by it. Grindelwald was almost his dark twin, Dumbledore wanted to believe he was good, and he appeared to offer a solution of the problem of caring for his family.
  • Harry isn't really a Horcrux, which needs to be made intentionally. He wasn't an evil object with curses on him, and wasn't contaminated by it except on occasions in OotP when it fed off the dark time Harry was going through.
  • Harry's scar hurts when the soul piece in him is drawn back to the master piece of soul in Voldemort
  • The scar is the wound through which the soul piece found its way into Harry.
  • The two-headed smoke snake was Dumbledore detecting that Voldemort's soul had split like this.
  • Harry had to die to get rid of the soul piece in him, being poisoned by the basilisk but cured wasn't enough.
  • Neville is the-boy-it-could-have-been. Harry has an edge more talent, particularly an instinct of the right thing to do which makes him such a good auror, but Neville proves by the end of the books that he could also have done it had Voldemort chosen him.
  • Bellatrix went after the Longbottoms because they were efficient and successful at their jobs as aurors.
  • James and Lily were asked out of school to join Voldemort, but they rejected him.
  • Dumbledore knew what happened at Godric's Hollow because of an alarm spell on the house, but Jo couldn't remember if there was an explanation for the 24 hours until Harry arrived at Privet Drive.
  • The Encyclopedia or "Scottish Book" is currently planned to be half facts and backstory within Harry's world, and half discarded plots and commentary on planning and what went in or not. Jo only wants to write it if it is amazing, she doesn't what to have to rush it out.
  • Jo thinks of Hannah Abbott as pure blood (though she might be muggle born in Jo's notes.) She is landlady at The Leaky Cauldron.
  • Jo was under pressure to do a fan club, but created her website as a better solution.
  • There will be no more WOMBATs. She was told for legal reasons that it would be a bad idea to release snippets of information about DH, and saw the WOMBATs as a way of giving the fans something, though WOMBAT 3 had a lot of hints concealed within it. Jo might put up the answers.
  • Harry and Ron didn't go back to school and were aurors, but Hermione did another year at Hogwarts to get her NEWTs. Kingsley wanted anyone in the Battle of Hogwarts on the right side, who was old enough, to help clean up the Ministry (including Ron, Neville and Harry).
  • Hermione went with Harry and Ron through Deathly Hallows because ultimately her heart was bigger than her brain; she isn't naturally drawn to battle.
  • Jo was sad that she wasn't going to write a Hogwarts graduation scene.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rowling to be on PotterCast!

Today The Leaky Cauldron announced that J.K. Rowling would be the featured guest on next Tuesday's PotterCast. Leaky staffers Melissa Anelli, Sue Upton and John Noe were on hand for the first extensive fan interview since 2005. Melissa promises new canon and lots of fun, so stay tuned.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tales of Beedle the Bard sells for nearly $4 million U.S.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, translated from the original runes by J.K. Rowling, an entirely handmade book, sold this morning for £1.95 million ($3,985,410 U.S.) in London. The buyer was later announced to be Seattle, Washington-based online merchant The Children's Voice, a charity co-founded in 2005 by Rowling and Baroness Nicholson is to receive the proceeds.

The book is bound in Moroccan leather with hand-chased silver bosses set with moonstones; there are only 6 other copies in existence. It's 157 hand-written and illustrated pages contain 5 wizarding fairy tales: "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," "The Tale of the Three Brothers," "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," and "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump."

Amazon does not have the rights to publish the book; however they say they will post reviews of the stories and more photographs. According to the Associated Press, Amazon spokesman Craig Berman said the company plans a tour for the book of libraries and schools.

December 16, 2007: Well, all 5 of the reviews have been posted, and they make delightful reading. I especially appreciate how the Amazon editor described things like how Jo's handwriting changed during certain parts of the stories, and how the drawings foreshadowed each tale. Bravo, Amazon! And thank you for sharing your treasure with all of us.

Amazon: pictures, reviews, a video, and a forum for questions
Associated Press report