There's a plethora of news related to the universally adored Harry Potter book series, so I thought I'd summarize it all and put it in one place:
1. Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hollywood
The new addition to the Universal Theme Park in Hollywood has been under construction for the past couple of years, modeled after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (which I was privileged enough to get to go to back in 2012 with my family). The Hollywood version, according to the interactive map tour that was released a couple of days ago, seems to be almost exactly the same as the Wizarding World in Florida (or as it was when I went there). The set up is as follows: Hogsmeade (filled with familiar stores) and Hogwarts (which houses the incredible Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride), with a little area off-set from Hogwarts with Hagrid's Hut, which serves as the backdrop for the Flight of the Hippogriff ride. Both are great rides - Flight of the Hippogriff is a relatively short roller coaster, similar to the Go Coaster in ToonTown and Big Thunder Mountain (both at Disneyland); Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an amazing ride - people are seated in "bookshelves" that are on an animatronic arm that swings them through animatronic scenes, while also occasionally placing them in front of a small conical screen that shows scenes (for those familiar with Disneyland, it's sort of a combination of the Radiator Springs Racers, Star Tours, and the now non-existant Soarin' Over California, may it rest in peace).
The only part the Hollywood version seems to be lacking is the Dragon Challenge - a Triwizard Tournament/dragon-themed roller coaster that was adapted from the Dueling Dragons ride that existed in the park pre-Wizarding World. Of course, now there's all of Diagon Alley (with the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts roller coaster inside inside the wizard bank, also involving a dragon) in Florida as well, in the other Universal park - with the Hogwarts Express running back and forth to connect the two. Sigh. Unfortunately, land prices in Southern California are vastly steeper than in Florida, so it's unlikely that we'll be getting a Diagon Alley soon (though we can hope...).
2. JK Rowling - new children's book?
JK Rowling has been writing since the end of the Harry Potter series - The Casual Vacancy, as well as the Comoran Strike mystery novels (published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith), have kept her plenty busy. But all of these books (four so far) have been for adults - until the news broke last Monday that she's been working on a new children's book. Here's to hoping it'll be just as brilliant and magical as the Harry Potter books are!
But Rowling has also forayed into writing outside of books...
3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Specifically, she wrote the script(s) for the two-part sequel play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. When the news of a Harry Potter play was released ago, there was rampent speculation that it was a prequel to the novels - which JK Rowling denied, though she never explained exactly what it was. But then it came out that the plays are a sequel, not a prequel, and as the tagline states, "The eighth story. Nineteen years later," which deals with Harry's son, Albus. VIP tickets went on sale on October, and sold out almost instantly. The regular tickets were released to the public for purchase on October 30th, at 11:00 AM GMT. Which is 4:00 AM PCT (my local time), and since I had the day off of school, and I'll be in Britain when the show opens, I woke up at 3:30 AM PCT to be ready to get tickets... only to discover that there was a pre-queue (queue means line), which I was around the 9,000th person in said queue (I'm not being hyperbolic - I legitimately was in somewhere around the 9,000th person waiting in line). By the time I was able to get tickets (about 5:00 AM PCT), the earliest I could get tickets for myself and my family would have been for the end of August. But hopefully the show will do well enough in the West End (which, if the ticket sales are any indication, it will be very successful) that it'll come to America sometime soon. And by America I mean New York. And then I'll have to wait to see if it does well enough in New York that it'll come to Los Angeles. One can only hope.
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
The title artwork was revealed a couple of days ago. Isn't the lettering lovely? The lettering for the Harry Potter movies (and the American covers) was so distinct and recognizable - I'm glad they they put just as much effort into the lettering for this movie. Hopefully the team behind the movie put in just as much effort as they did in the Harry Potter films, in all areas.
b. First Look
Entertainment Weekly's cover features Newt Scamander, the protagonist of the film, as well as eight exclusive images. Check out their website to see the stills, as well as read a host of different articles about the movie.
In addition to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child scripts, and all of her recent books, Ms. Rowling has also written the screenplay for the Harry Potter spin-off/prequel movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Those of us who were around when the Harry Potter novels were first published remember that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, in addition to being two of Harry's required textbooks in the novels, were actually written and published by Rowling as fun little books for the fans. However, the Fantastic Beasts movie actually chronicles the exploits of magizooligist Newt Scamander, the fictitious author of the book, as he journeys to America in the 1920's in search of, well, fantastic beats (which he collects in his suitcase, similar to Hermione's bag in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows). However, the American wizarding community is facing persecution from the muggle community, which presents quite the problem when some of the fantastic beats escape. Read more here.
d. Wizarding Nomenclature
Apparently, "muggle" isn't the term of choice in America for non-magical people - it's "no-maj," short for no-magic. The internet is not pleased, myself included...although when I picture a 1920's flapper with a New York accent saying it, it definitely makes more sense.
Here's to all the exciting Harry Potter news!
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.