Big News for Potterheads: MuggleNet’s Expo Patronum!

Everyone’s favorite Harry Potter fan site, MuggleNet has announced its first live event will take place April 18th in London.  MuggleNet Live! Exp Patronum will feature once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet actors from the Harry Potter movies, attend guest panels, and generally celebrate the past, present, and future of the Harry Potter fandom.

The purpose of the event is to raise money for Lumos, an international charity founded by JK Rowling to end the institutionalization of millions of children around the world. In the last four years, the charity has supported the move of more than 12,000 children from harmful institutions to families or supported independent living, saved a further 644 children suffering from malnutrition, severe neglect or a lack of access to medical treatment, and trained more than 17,000 people on the issues, ranging from social workers and medical professionals, to civil servants and policy makers. Most recently Lumos launched its #LetsTalkLumos campaign in order to further raise the profile of their cause.

New guests and programs are being announced daily at the Expo Patronum website. Here’s a sneak peak of the famous guests making an appearance at the event:

Percy Weasley

Chris Rankin – Known for his role as Percy Weasley

Dudley

Harry Melling – Known for his role as Dudley Dursley

Warwick Davis

Warwick Davis — known for his roles as Professor Flitwick AND Griphook!

Anna Shaffer

Anna Shaffer – known for her role as Romilda Vane

Jessie Cave

Jessie Cave — known for her role as Lavender Brown

Follow @ArtofSpying on Twitter for more updates on this awesome event!

Event Details:

Date: 18th April 2015

Times: 10am- 6pm

Ticket price: £100

Location: The Platinum Suites, Excel Centre, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL

Tickets Available Here!

A Very Potter Christmas – Part 2

We certainly don’t want the holiday season to be over, so here’s Part 2 of the #APottermoreChristmas blog from @AimeeMarieK from MuggleNet!

Harry Potter Christmas

In the final week of #APottermoreChristmas, Jo Rowling provides more Moments in Half-Blood Prince for us to explore. Let’s once more put our spy suits on to discover what Jo has in store for us!

The clue for day 7 brings us to one of the most familiar places in the books and films – The Great Hall. Take a look at the clue below:

pottermore-day-7

No new information was provided with this clue, but it does bring to the forefront one of the wizarding world’s means of travel: Apparition. As any spy will tell you, getting from one place to another undetected is key. You may recall that in the books, apparition is a great means of magical transportation, but it is accompanied by a loud cracking sound. In the films, the sound is a bit less jarring, but still not entirely on the level with what a spy would need to remain undetected.

This brings us to the clue for day 8, seen below:

Pottermore Gold and Emerald Locket

The answer to this riddle leads us to one of the Hogwarts founders and opens up a key Moment for Harry as Dumbledore takes him into the memory of a House-Elf in the employ of a witch who was trying to sell some of her heirlooms to a young Tom Riddle. Riddle was employed with Borgin and Burkes, a shop in Diagon Alley that sold many items that were imbued with dark magic or had a sinister history and purpose. In this memory, Harry watches as Riddle flatters the witch in order to gain access to an item that ultimately becomes one of the horcruxes that Harry must find and destroy.

For Dumbledore’s Army, the clue for day 9 is very important. See below:
Pottermore Day

If you guessed the answer was the Room of Requirement, you’re correct! This room provided a secret place (rather like James Bond’s MI-6) that Harry and his friends could congregate without being seen and where they could practice their Defense Against the Dark Arts. The room provided whatever the students required, including sleeping quarters, food, and all manner of training objects and materials for them to learn to defend themselves. It was here that Dumbledore’s Army prepared for the great Battle of Hogwarts seen in book 7.

The next clue brings us to one of the most frightening moments in the series – beyond Voldemort and his followers willing to kill anyone for any reason (or none at all), the employ of Inferi in the cave where Harry and Dumbledore find the hidden locket is a disturbing moment in the films. Take a look at day ten’s clue below:

pottermore-day-11_1000x1000

After a few days of no new information, Jo provides us with specific information on the Inferi, the reanimated corpses that Voldemort uses to guard the locket. Rowling tells us that the Inferi can be cursed to respond if disturbed (as they did when Harry and Dumbledore touched the lake water surrounding the locket), to kill without discrimination, and to take on jobs that the witch or wizard who cursed them did not want to do (either from the threat of danger or discovery – the possibilities are endless when it comes to the reasons for dark magic such as this!). Jo also reveals where Voldemort obtained the seemingly endless amount of Inferi that tried to kill all those who made it into the cave – they were, for the most part, Muggles killed specifically for this purpose, but others were those in the magical community who had “disappeared”, which leads me to believe that they were either killed by Voldemort or his followers. The final bit that Jo gave us about these undead creatures is that the only way to kill them is by fire, which explains why Dumbledore employed the use of flame to distract and kill them while he and Harry escaped the cave.

What I love most about Pottermore and the new information that Jo provides fans is that we often are treated to background information on characters in the series. In the clue for day eleven, see if you can guess which character Jo is about to shed some light on:

Pottermore Day 12

Perhaps one of the most hated characters of the series (besides Voldemort, Snape, and Lucias Malfoy) is the featured character in day eleven – another double agent, Draco Malfoy. Jo writes about this character in depth, both her thoughts on him as a character and also the history of the character growing up and a glimpse into his life after the Battle at Hogwarts. While he definitely is a character that we love to hate, there are things revealed in this Moment that help readers understand the reasons why Draco acted the way he did throughout the series and why and how he changed after the battle was over and Voldemort had been defeated.

Jo also addresses her thoughts on why on earth girls who read the books or watched the film series would “fall” for Draco, considering there wasn’t any redeeming quality in this character, apart from the fact that Tom Felton brought the character to life and was in fact very charming and a great actor. In my opinion, there wasn’t necessarily anything redeemable in Draco’s character, but as a writer, I can see where knowing his background and seeing the choices he made in the end made me feel for him. It can’t have been easy to work as an agent for Voldemort when he didn’t really want to – he was forced to in order to save himself and his family. I would think that to be a spy, you must have such a firm and strong belief in what you are doing. Draco, in the end, didn’t fight for Voldemort because he believed in Voldemort’s new regime 100%. He fought on the Dark Lord’s side out of fear, which doesn’t really make one the best spy on the planet.

The final clue appropriately brings us to the end of the Half-Blood Prince. See the clue below:

Pottermore Day 12

So much of the Half-Blood Prince is focused on Harry trying to determine who the Prince is and learning as much as he can about Riddle’s past, that sometimes we don’t see what is right in front of us. The clue for the final day of #APottermoreChristmas leads us to Albus Dumbledore and his Order of Merlin. We see a representation of his funeral in this Moment, which we did not get to see in the films. We also learn more about the Order of Merlin and information on Merlin himself, who it turns out, is a Slytherin! In addition we learn about the various classes of the Order of Merlin and what they are awarded for.

 

I hope that you enjoyed solving the Pottermore riddles as much as I did! Jo gave us more insider information on Harry’s world and the characters that reside there, which for fans, is a very good Christmas present indeed!

 

Don’t forget to check out Pottermore for yourself – there are many Moments to be explored through the entire book series, which is currently only up to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You can create your own Pottermore profile, get sorted, get a wand, brew some potions, and even duel with housemates. All that and more is yours for the exploring – only at Pottermore!

 

 

Guest Post: JK Rowling’s Christmas Codes and New Content

Today’s post comes to us from Aimee Krenz, a Source Editor from Mugglenet, the world’s #1 Harry Potter site. We thought her expertise would come in handy given JK Rowling’s fantastic new codes and short stories.

MuggleNet header

Like many fans who follow all things Harry Potter, I was excited by the Pottermore announcement that Jo Rowling would be providing us new information on the site this December. Pottermore cleverly came up with a way for fans to “earn” the goods using riddles – and for those of you who have found the Art of Spying a thrilling new way to look at the Harry Potter series, you can appreciate this approach more than most. It’s time to deploy your inner spy and see what you can learn from Jo’s riddles!

In the first riddle, seen below, we’re taken to a Moment in The Half-Blood Prince:

If you recall, Spinner’s End is the home of Professor Severus Snape (a double agent), and also the place where Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange meet in secret with Snape regarding Draco and the secret mission assigned to him by Lord Voldemort. What is revealed after solving the riddle is where Spinner’s End is actually located and how it relates not only to Snape, but to Harry and Lily as well. Cokesworth, the town where Lily and Petunia Evans and Severus Snape grew up, also happens to be one of the places Harry’s uncle Vernon takes them to in The Sorcerer’s Stone to avoid the Owl Post that invites Harry to attend Hogwarts as a First Year student.

Pottermore’s second riddle puts the spotlight on the Weasleys’ joke shop – for those of you spies just starting out, this clue is fairly simple.

Day 2 Pottermore

Fans of the series love the idea of Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes and should know exactly where the shop is located. What Jo gives us with the solving of this riddle is the backstory on the location itself: a history of Diagon Alley via The Leaky Cauldron.

The Leaky Cauldron is a place where Harry has gathered a lot of his information about where he comes from and his ongoing battle with Voldemort. This crossroads into the wizarding world is more than just a gateway – wizards and witches from all over Great Britain pass through its doors daily and bring with them important information that Harry and his friends use to help them on their quest to defeat Voldemort.

In the answer to this riddle, Jo provides us the reason why other wizarding villages and magical locations were unseen to the Muggle eye while The Leaky Cauldron was not – the pub was built long before the International Statute of Secrecy was put into effect and was allowed to remain in the same location, with a few concealment charms after the Statute was put into place.

Jo also revealed an almost-key player in Harry’s journey – Florean Fortescue. Florean, the owner of Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, was intended to provide Harry with information that ultimately ended up being given by the portrait-dwelling Phineas Nigellus Black (another double agent that we never saw coming!) both inside Grimmauld Place and Hogwarts castle. Florean was unfortunately, a victim of Voldemort during the series, kidnapped and killed off by Death Eaters.

Our third clue, seen below, talks of another Potions master, although not Severus Snape. This time, the riddle hints to another professor closer to Voldemort’s past.

Once this riddle has been solved by answering Professor Slughorn, we are treated to a few more bits of history. First, Jo addresses potions – who can create them and who can’t. Turns out, no matter if a Muggle happened to come across a copy of Moste Potente Potions, they would not be able to create anything even if they had the ingredients. You must be a witch or wizard (and a patient one, at that!) to create a real magic potion. She also tells us that she was rubbish at chemistry in school and this became the subject that her adversary Snape would teach Harry and his friends.

Second, we learn a little about cauldrons. I’d always wondered about the weight of the cauldrons as they are listed as pewter, copper, brass, silver, iron, and gold. It’s like Jo has spies of her own and decided to answer this question for us! The cauldrons have been enchanted to make them lighter for the witch or wizard who has to carry them and include versions that collapse for easy storage.

Clues four and five seemed a bit of a let-down in regards to new information, but did provide us two more Moments in Half-Blood Prince – Katie Bell and the cursed necklace, handed to her in the girls bathroom by Voldemort’s secret agent Draco Malfoy, as well as Dumbledore’s visit to young Tom Riddle at the orphanage.

Pottermore Day 4 Pottermore Day 5

Our sixth clue focused on one of my favorite quirky characters, but once solved, led us again to our favorite and most successful double agent, Professor Snape:

Jo clears up yet another swirling bit of misinformation that has made the rounds in the fandom regarding who or what Snape is – a vampire. She tells us that vampires do exist in the Potter universe, but that other than a brief mention of one at Slughorn’s Christmas party, no one else of mention was in fact a vampire. Jo briefly had a professor at Hogwarts whose name could have led her in that direction, but says she felt she had nothing to add to vampire lore, so left it alone.

That’s it for this week’s blog! I had a tremendous amount of fun exploring Pottermore’s special Christmas riddles and learning more behind the scenes story information from Jo. Check back next week when we discuss the final 6 Pottermore clues!

The Leaky Diary: Day 4

IMG_0860[1] Just in case you haven’t read The Leaky Diary: Day 1The Leaky Diary: Day 2,  or The Leaky Diary: Day 3, my name is Kelsey and I got the chance of a lifetime to attend LeakyCon in Orlando Florida with Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. This is my Leaky Diary where I explore some of my favorite parts of the experience, give some vacation advice to those interested in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thank all of the wonderful people that made the trip a fantastic success!* *Unlike Tom Riddle’s Diary, the goal of this blog series is not to convince you to open a secret chamber, kill a bunch of students, or do anything equally nefarious. I just want to tell my story. Still, as Arthur Weasley says, “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

Today I want to talk about the MuggleNet Scavenger Hunt and the cosplay sightings that really made my weekend. LeakyCon is all about meeting other people and sharing the Harry Potter experience, so both the scavenger hunt and the cosplayers were essential.

Mugglnet had an exhaustive scavenger hunt that sent players to booths all over the marketplace. The second question was: “Find the secret word/riddle at the Harry Potter and the Art of Spying Booth” Now, if you’ve been following our blog, you may guess what that secret word is. If not, check out this Crack the Code blog post to find the word and the role it plays in the Harry Potter series. I really enjoyed helping everyone solve the riddle, and I think the authors did too! Kelsey 570 We also did some serious role playing , as I’m sure you noticed in the first photo above. Snape killed Dumbledore as McGonagall looked on with her usual stern expression. You should have seen the crowd that gathered to watch the reenactment! Snape and McGonagall were very good sports about the whole thing, too. Kelsey 603 Now, as you probably know by now, those of us working on Harry Potter and the Art of Spying are firmly convinced that Severus Snape was the best double agent EVER. Rita Skeeter’s interviews with his headmaster portrait reveal his personal experiences working for both sides during the years leading up to the second wizarding war. Now, just imagine how excited we were when the legendary Snape impersonator @vladimirsnape debated Snape’s role as a spy with us and then bought a book! Seriously, talking to him was like talking to Alan Rickman, if Alan Rickman were actually Severus Snape. IMG_0865