Entries in Harry Potter (29)


"Harry Potter" Author Publishes New Novel Under False Name

Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Some critics thought that author Robert Galbraith’s debut book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was too good to have been written by a first time author. And they were right.

It turns out that The Cuckoo’s Calling was actually written by JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling wrote the mystery novel secretly, using Robert Galbraith as a pseudonym.

The book was released in April to rave reviews from British critics, but London's Sunday Times started to investigate Robert Galbraith to find out how a first time author could have penned such a well written novel. They were able to reveal the book’s true authorship.

Rowling said she had hoped to keep the truth a secret a little while longer, as being Robert Galbraith had been such a "liberating experience" for her. She said she enjoyed getting feedback to her writing without all the hype and expectations that come with her famous name.

The truth has certainly helped sales, however. Sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling on increased 150,000 percent after Rowling was identified as the author.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


First Look at the New "Harry Potter" Cover Art

Scholastic Books(NEW YORK) -- Big news for Harry Potter fans: the beloved books are getting a makeover.

All seven books in J.K. Rowling's wildly-popular Harry Potter series will be released with new cover artwork, Scholastic announced. The iconic Sorcerer's Stone cover, illustrated by artist Mary GrandPre with a young Harry Potter flying on a broomstick, has been updated with a new design by graphic artist Kazu Kibuishi.

ABC's Good Morning America unveiled Kibuishi’s cover illustration for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. On it, Harry and Hagrid are featured walking in Diagon Alley as Harry enters a magical world of witchcraft and wizardry.

“I wanted it to feel whimsical,” Kibuishi said, “Like an entrance into a fantasy world, but also like a perennial classic.”

Kibuishi, an artist and author of the bestselling Amulet series of graphic novels, is a Potter fan.  “Who isn’t?” he said when GMA caught up with him by phone.

The 35-year-old American graphic artist, born in Tokyo, said he felt some pressure working on a series with such a rabid fan base, but was only nervous to hear what one person in particular -- Rowling -- thought of his design.

“When I heard that she enjoyed it, I was happy.  Now that she’s happy, I’m going to sail my way to the end of this thing,” he joked.

The new edition will be released in September along with Kibuishi’s cover artwork for the rest of the series.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Daniel Radcliffe Says He’s Not Trying to Shock Anyone With His Sundance Film

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images(PARK CITY, Utah) -- Daniel Radcliffe’s latest movie, “Kill Your Darlings,” finds him playing Allen Ginsberg, the Beat area poet who falls in love with fellow writer Lucien Carr and helps him commit murder. You can’t get much further from Hogwarts than that.

“It’s not ‘Harry Potter,” he told ABC News Now’s “Popcorn With Peter Travers” Saturday. “And there’s this tendency to think that I want to shock people, but this is not a shocking film. It’s a beautiful film and a powerful film and an emotionally fraught one, but I don’t think it’s shocking.”

Radcliffe’s projects outside the ‘Potter’ franchise have been varied. Highlights include the play “Equus,” in which he appeared nude, the Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and the horror flick “The Women in Black.” Evolution and experimentation is normal for any actor, so he doesn’t really get why people are surprised when he veers from the role of the bespectacled boy wizard.

He said he hears this a lot: “‘You’ve picked weird things!’ And clearly the fact that it’s in competition at Sundance means that it was a good choice.”

That said, there’s a part of him that misses playing Potter. But he’s glad he started branching out early.

“The early steps I took away from ‘Potter,’ there was always that safety net of going back to ‘Potter’ afterwards. I would always have another job,” he said. “For a while [after ‘Potter’ ended, there was a bit of the sense of the oddness of knowing that I will never be doing another ‘Harry Potter’ film. That was a little bit sad.”

But, “I made three films and a TV miniseries last year and worked with a ton of different actors and different crews,” he said. “It was really just great.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


America's Top Ten Banned Books

Amazon(NEW YORK) – For 30 years now, the sponsors of Banned Books Week have united in defense of literature that others deem offensive, insensitive, anti-family, satanic, sexually explicit or racist, or all of the above.

Many of the titles occupy library and school bookshelves across the country with hardly a ripple, which lightens the load for anti-censorship advocates such as the Chicago-based American Library Association.

But one reader's treasured classic is another's source of agita, or even outrage.

Here are some of the most challenged (and sometimes banned) books in the United States that can still draw the ire of critics who see them as a corrupting force with little social value, especially when the perceived innocence of children is a stake.

1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain (1884)
2. And Tango Makes Three - Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (2005)
3. Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling (1997-2007)
4. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier (1974)
5. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (1951)
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou (1969)
7. It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health – Robbie Harris (1994)
8. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (1937)
9. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1960)
10. The Grooming of Alice – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (2000)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


"Harry Potter" Star Sentenced for Role in London Riots

SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Harry Potter actor Jamie Waylett has been sentenced to three years in prison, according to London’s Wood Green Crown Court.

Waylett, who played Draco Malfoy’s evil sidekick Vincent Crabbe in six of the Potter films, was arrested for participating in violent riots that occurred across England last summer.

Prosecutors said Waylett, 22, was part of a small gang that participated in the riots in north London Aug. 8. Judge Simon Carr found Waylett guilty Tuesday of violent disorder for which he received two years. Waylett was cleared of another charge of intending to destroy or damage property with a fire bomb he was holding, a representative of the Wood Green Crown Court told ABC News.

Waylett had previously admitted to swigging from a bottle of stolen champagne from a supermarket during the riots. He was captured by security cameras with a hood over his head accepting a bottle of champagne from a rioter who had just looted it, according to the BBC.

The actor received a two-year sentence for violent disorder and one year for handling stolen goods, to run concurrently, so he will serve no more than two years.

“You were pictured on a number of occasions with a bottle full of petrol with a rag as a wick,” Judge Carr said in court, according to the BBC. “I accept entirely the jury’s verdict that you did not throw or have any intention of throwing it but merely being in possession of it would have been terrifying to anyone who saw you.”

Waylett’s lawyer, Emily Dummatt, said during mitigation that Waylett had become a “withered actor by the age of 22,” the BBC reported.

“Although he had the good fortune to be in the Harry Potter films, it turned out to be not so good fortune,” Dummatt said.

This isn’t the first time the actor has gotten into trouble. He was arrested in April 2009 for growing 10 marijuana plants in his mother’s northwest London home, the BBC reported. Waylett pleaded guilty and was ordered to 120 hours of community service. The arrest led him to be cut from the last two Potter films.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Harry Potter' Website Pottermore Scheduled to Launch Next Month

2011 Warner Bros. Ent./ Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.(NEW YORK) -- Harry Potter fans waiting for the official launch of the highly-anticipated website Pottermore just need to be a little more patient.

After a six-month delay, the site is now slated to debut in early April.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling announced the creation of the website last summer, saying it would provide "an online reading experience unlike any other."  At the time, the website was scheduled to launch the following October.

But that didn't happen after one million fans were invited to test the site and provide feedback.

A new blog post on Pottermore says, "It became clear that our original platform wouldn’t be suitable when millions more users came on to the site.  So we made a big decision: to move Pottermore to an entirely different platform setup."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Harry Potter' Most Successful Movie Franchise Despite Oscar Snubs

2011 Warner Bros. Ent./ Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.(LOS ANGELES) -- The Harry Potter film series earned a dubious distinction after the final movie featuring the boy wizard failed to win an Oscar on Sunday.

E! Online did some research and found that of the five highest-grossing franchises in U.S. box office history, the Harry Potter series is the only one not to receive an Academy Award.

The eighth and final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, was nominated in three categories -- art direction, makeup and visual effects -- but came up short in all of them.  In total, the Harry Potter series went 0 for 12 at the Oscars throughout the years.

The Harry Potter franchise ranks first on the list of highest-grossing film series, having raked in a total of $2.39 billion domestically, according to  It is followed by the Star Wars, James Bond, Batman and Shrek franchises.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Harry Potter' Receives Four Nominations for Kids' Choice Awards

2011 Warner Bros. Ent./ Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.(LOS ANGELES) -- The Harry Potter franchise earned four nominations Thursday for the 2012 Kids' Choice Awards, which will be presented by Nickelodeon in late March.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 earned nods for favorite movie, plus favorite movie actor for Daniel Radcliffe and favorite movie actress for Emma Watson.  In addition, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series is a contender for favorite book.

Among the other celebrities who received nominations: Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Adam Sandler, Kristen Stewart and Selena Gomez.  Kids will be able to cast their votes beginning March 1 on and other Nickelodeon digital sites.

Will Smith will host Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards from USC's Galen Center in Los Angeles on March 31.  It will air live on the East Coast.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Daniel Radcliffe Opens Up About Drinking Problem

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Although his admission he'd given up alcohol was already widely known, in a new interview in UK Glamour, Harry Potter series star Daniel Radcliffe explains for the first time how bad his drinking problem really was. Starting at age 18, Radcliffe admits he became too fond of the bottle, saying, "[I]n the last three years of drinking I blacked out nearly every time. Blacking out was my thing ... I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them, so I’d stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20. It was pathetic -- it wasn’t me," the actor says. "I’m a fun, polite person and it turned me into a rude bore."

Before he decided to quit, the 21-year-old star of the new thriller The Woman in Black says he found inspiration in Gary Oldman. The actor who played Sirius Black -- ironically the protector of Harry Potter in two of the Potter films -- had bested his alcohol problem years ago. Oldman warned the young actor not to make the same mistakes he did.

"I did talk to him about it once," Radcliffe says. "He just said, 'You can’t keep doing this. You’ve got too much to lose.' And that really went in. But not even he could have stopped me alone -- I had to stop myself," Radcliffe admitted.

"And stopping has shown me a world of happiness that I didn’t think was possible," says the actor, who's now happily involved with production assistant girlfriend Rosanne Coker.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Harry Potter,' 'Twilight' Among Top Pop Culture Moments on eBay in 2011

2011 Warner Bros. Ent./ Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R.(NEW YORK) -- Harry Potter and Twilight sequels were among the top-grossing movies of the year, but fans of the two series weren't just spending their money at the box office. The franchises are listed on this year's edition of eBay's "Top Shopped" report, which ranks the pop culture moments and trends that "captured shoppers' attention -- and cash -- in 2011."

Harry Potter and Twilight rank second and third, respectively, behind the NFL.  More than 446 thousand Harry Potter items were sold on eBay, compared to 297,330 items connected to the Twilight series, including 11,352 Robert Pattinson items and 4,020 Kristen Stewart items.

Also cracking the top 10: Justin Bieber, the Fox series Glee and Charlie Sheen. Nearly 60,000 items connected to Glee were sold on eBay, while bidders purchased 22,480 Sheen-related items.

Here are some other tidbits from eBay's "Top Shopped" report:

* More than 30 thousand items related to Mad Men were sold on the auction website this year.

* eBay unloaded 16,133 items related to Jennifer Lopez.

* Bidders scooped up 12,583 items related to Kate Middleton.

* More than 13 thousand items related to Kim Kardashian were sold.

Here is eBay's list of America’s “Top Shopped” and Pop Culture Moments of 2011:

1. NFL
2. Harry Potter
3. Twilight
4. Call of Duty
5. Green Bay Packers
6. iPad
7. Sade
8. Justin Bieber
9. Glee
10. Charlie Sheen

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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