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J.K. Rowling plans new Pottermore entries for Christmas

UPDATE Dec. 8, 8p.m. ET:

While J.K. Rowling will be publishing new entries on the Pottermore website, there will not be 12 new short stories, as previously reported. In a statement to EW, a rep for Pottermore wrote: “Just to put everyone straight on the misleading media reports of ‘Twelve New Stories for Christmas.’ As true Potter fans worked out straight away, our 12 days of festive surprises and accompanying rhyming riddles refer to new potions and Moments in addition to several new entries by J.K. Rowling that will be posted on pottermore.com between 12th and 23rd December. Sorry to disappoint fans, but there will not be a set of 12 new short stories, one for each day of Christmas. Even Pottermore wouldn’t be that generous.”

ORIGINAL:

This year has been one of surprises from J.K. Rowling, and the Harry Potter author is closing 2014 out in a similar way. On Friday, the author announced, via an email to Pottermore users, a series of 12 short stories from her wizarding world to commemorate the 12 days of Christmas. Starting December 12, new installments will be posted at 8 a.m. ET. and will involve “wonderful writing by J.K. Rowling in Moments from Half-Blood Prince, shiny gold Galleons and even a new potion or two.”

Rowling says at least one of the stories will focus on Potter’s rival, Draco Malfoy. Back on Halloween, Rowling wrote 5,000 words for Pottermore about another auxiliary Potter character, Dolores Umbridge.

Check out EW’s new store for this year’s coolest entertainment gifts.

J.K. Rowling digs into Dolores Umbridge in new Pottermore story

Your first Halloween treat today: Reading Pottermore‘s latest feature, a 1700-word exploration of the despicable Dolores Umbridge—written, naturally, by J.K. Rowling herself.

The Harry Potter author calls Umbridge—onetime Hogwarts professor, current Azkaban resident, and one of the primary antagonists of the series’ fifth installment—”one of the characters for whom I feel the purest dislike.” She reveals that Umbridge was inspired by a real person, a former teacher or instructor of Rowling’s whom she “disliked intensely on sight.” (This admission should be a pretty big deal for hardcore Potterheads, since Rowling has claimed previously that smarmy Gilderoy Lockhart is the only Potter character based directly on a real person.) READ FULL STORY

J.K Rowling to publish piece about Dolores Umbridge on Pottermore

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J.K. Rowling is returning to the wizarding world to focus on one of Harry Potter’s most twisted foes.

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On the Books: Salman Rushdie shares PEN prize with Syrian activist Mazen Darwish

- Author Salman Rushdie is sharing his PEN Pinter prize with Syrian journalist, lawyer, and human rights activist Mazen Darwish. Darwish has been imprisoned in Syria since February 2012, where he is currently awaiting trial on charges of publicizing terrorist acts, according to English PEN. The founder of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. “Darwish courageously fought for civilised values—free expression, human rights—in one of the most dangerous places in the world,” said Rushdie, speaking at last night’s ceremony at the British Library in London. “His continued detention is arbitrary and unjust. He should be freed immediately, and we must hope this award may help, by shining a light on his plight.”

English PEN, a British free speech organization, established the joint prize five years ago in the name of Nobel Prize-winning British playwright Harold Pinter, who died of cancer in 2008. Half of the prize is awarded to a British author whose work helps defend freedom of speech and justice. Rushdie was selected for his “many years of speaking out for freedom of expression,” according to judges chair Maureen Freely. “When he sees writers unjustly vilified, prosecuted or forced into exile, he takes a personal interest.” The other half of the prize goes to an international writer who has been persecuted for doing similar work. [The Guardian] READ FULL STORY

Is Harry Potter returning? Let's all try to decipher J.K. Rowling's cryptic tweet (updated)

J.K. Rowling sent Twitter abuzz after posting a cryptic tweet on Monday that seemed to suggest something was brewing in the land of Hogwarts.

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On the Books: J.K. Rowling hints she's almost done with 'Fantastic Beasts' screenplay

- J.K. Rowling sparked some Twitter excitement with a series of tweets thought to be about the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”Very busy at the moment working on a novel, tweaking a screenplay and being involved in @lumos campaigns. Back when I’ve finished something!” Rowling posted on Sunday afternoon, explaining her recent Twitter inactivity. A few minutes later, she responded to a fan who tweeted “Everytime @jk_rowling tweets I stop what ever I’m doing and analyze it for an hour,” with this: “See, now I’m tempted to post a riddle or an anagram. Must resist temptation… must work…” Rowling followed through on that temptation this morning, when she posted “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense,” and, shortly after, “Something to ponder while I’m away X.” So, is it a riddle or an anagram? A plot clue? Or perhaps, a befuddling bewitchment cast via Twitter—avid Potter fans will surely be theorizing over the meaning of the cryptic tweet for days and weeks to come, as Rowling seems to have intended.

Fantastic Beasts will be a trilogy of films based on the book of the same name she published in 2001, a survey of the magical creatures in her Harry Potter series. David Yates, who directed several of the Harry Potter movies, will direct the first film in the Warner Bros. franchise, set for a Nov. 2016 release. Rowling has said that in the films, “[t]he laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway,” as EW reported last fall. The novel Rowling is working on is presumably her next crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. This is her first screenplay.

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See your favorite 'Harry Potter' and 'Game of Thrones' locations brought to life

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Two artists have brought to life of some of the most beloved locales in the magical worlds of fantasy fiction. The exquisite pieces—created in Photoshop by artists Peter and Radu behind the Etsy shop The Green Dragon Inn—offer escapes to King’s Landing, Diagon Alley, Rivendell, and other imaginary places from the Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings series. Because what book and art lover wouldn’t want to deck out their walls with gorgeous renderings of their favorite fictional jaunts?

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J.K. Rowling publishes story on Harry Potter character Celestina Warbeck

Celestina Warbeck, a famous singing witch, remained a mystery in the Harry Potter series—readers only saw her name mentioned briefly in a few of the books. But on Monday, J.K. Rowling published a piece on Pottermore so fans could find out more about the minor character, including what her hobbies are (traveling in fabulous style) and what house she belongs to (Gryffindor).
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J.K. Rowling sends 'Dumbledore'-penned letter to shooting survivor

J.K. Rowling sent a personalized handwritten note written in the voice of Albus Dumbledore, from her Harry Potter series, to 15-year-old shooting survivor Cassidy Stay, according to The Telegraph.

Last month, a gunman killed Cassidy Stay’s siblings and parents in a shooting in Houston. At a memorial event, Stay paraphrased Dumbledore from the movie adaptation Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, saying, “Happiness can be found even in darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light.”

In response, people started an online campaign to have Rowling meet with Stay. Rowling sent her the letter (written in purple ink), a wand, an acceptance letter and school supply list for Hogwarts, and a signed copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban. A spokesman for Rowling told The Telegraph that “the contents of the letter remain private,” and did not say whether or not Rowling and Stay would meet.

Warner Brothers creates Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team

Harry Potter has his own book series, his own movies, his own theme parks, and now he’s getting his own team: Warner Brothers just announced they’re launching a Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team to foster relations with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and to continue expanding the ever-growing Potter empire.

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