Category Archives: Harry Potter

July 28, 2014

Harry Potter Theme Parks

Posted by at 1:00 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

Diagon Alley in Florida, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan

It’s been a crazy month for Muggle fans of Harry Potter! As you may know, Universal Studios recently officially opened Diagon Alley in Florida, and Universal Studios Japan just unveiled its own Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Diagon Alley in Florida is essentially a replica of the film sets from the Harry Potter movies, complete with all the shops and spots like the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and more. Guests can get their fill of Nosebleed Nougats, butterbeer ice cream, and other Diagon Alley specialties. The main attraction, of course, is the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride. The other attraction is . . . THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS!

The Hogwarts Express is actually a shuttle between 2 different theme parks inside of Universal Studios. You need a “Park-to-Park” ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express which costs $136. For $96, you can see either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade (but not both).

This Diagon Alley is the first of its kind in the (Muggle) world, but the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open outside of the U.S. is now in Osaka, Japan. It opened on July 14th and it is almost identical to the original one in Florida. Tom Felton (who played Draco Malfoy in the movies) and Evanna Lynch (who played Luna Lovegood in the movies) greeted fans on opening night and led lucky visitors into the new park the following morning!

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment shop

Universal Studios Japan

Another Wizarding World is set to open at Universal Studios Hollywood in California in 2016.

So much Harry Potter coming to life! It’s so exciting . . . and also kind of overwhelming. What do YOU think? Would you go to Diagon Alley? What other parts of Harry Potter’s world would you like to see made real for us Muggles? (Well, to be honest, Harry Potter has always felt very real to me!) Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

June 18, 2014

Fantasy Books Festival

Posted by at 1:58 am in Harry Potter, Live Chats, Reads | Permalink

Fantasy Books FestivalAfter the fun of last month’s Funny Books Fiesta, we are enjoying a new  STACKS summer reading celebration: the Fantasy Books Festival! Have you ever wished for a Hogwarts letter to come to your house? Have you ever looked inside a wardrobe to see if it’s really a door into another world? Have you ever wondered if your real father is a god from Greek mythology? If so, then you should join us for the Fantasy Books Festival in July. We know just how you feel!

Here is the schedule of events:

Favorite Fantasy Books             July 2

Fantasy Guess the Books          July 9

Fantasy Who Would Win            July 16

Fantasy Book Previews               July 23

Harry Potter Week                     July 28- 31

Readathon/Harry Potter birthday celebration! July 31 Noon -4 pm E.T.

To get started, tell us your favorite fantasy book in the Comments.

May 29, 2014

Has Harry Potter Changed Your Life?

Writing Prompt: How Harry Potter Has Changed YOU

Everyone remembers the first time he or she opened a Harry Potter book and started reading. Think back to the time before Harry Potter was in your life and tell us how reading the books has changed you as a person, changed how you look at certain things, and changed your perspective on life in general.

Firstly, Hermione became my alter-ego and I became a self-motivated, straight-A student. Now I just do my absolute best with everything because she makes it cool to be a nerd. I became more responsible because of Hermione.

Seeing how Harry suffered at the Dursleys’ house made me put my stupid, little problems in perspective.

Seeing how coolly weird Luna is made me accept myself as an individual, if you know what I mean. Like, before, I was obsessed with conforming and being popular, and Luna made me step back and realize that there’s only one of me. And my friendships have actually improved since then.

Harry showed me that you need to believe in yourself and know who your true friends are even when everyone hates you. – EarlyElf6

I must thank Luna the most. Without her, I would probably have always kept my quirky weirdness to myself. To me, HP has been a lot more than words on paper. It has been a life-changing, motivating, roller coaster ride of a story and I absolutely adore it. – Popcorn3Penguin

Leave a Comment here or on the Harry Potter Message Board and tell us: How has reading Harry Potter changed YOUR life?

May 16, 2014

J. K. Rowling Fantastic Beasts Movie News

Posted by at 10:40 am in Harry Potter, Movies & TV | Permalink

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemNovember 18, 2016.

Clear your calendar of any other events on that day because if you are a Harry Potter fan, you will want that day free to go see the new movie based on J. K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It will be the first of 3 mega-movies set in the magical world about 70 years before the start of the Harry Potter story (so obviously, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were not born yet). The films will follow magizoologist Newton Artemis Fido Scamander (whose grandson Rolf will later marry Luna Lovegood). Newt was a Hufflepuff who graduated from Hogwarts in 1915. From 1918 to 1927, he traveled all over the world researching magical creatures for the book he was writing called . . . Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which we know went on to become a Hogwarts textbook. In his travels, he visited New York, which is where this movie will start.

We know Eddie Redmayne will play Newt, but we don’t know which actors will play the other characters. We do know that the look of the movies will resemble the eight Harry Potter movies and might re-use the some of the same sets, currently housed at Warner’s Leavesden Studios in London.

OK. I have told you all I know so far. I’m sorry it’s not very much yet. Has anyone read the original book? What creatures are you most excited about seeing in the movie?

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

May 8, 2014

My Favorite Fictional Mother

Posted by at 1:26 am in Harry Potter, News | Permalink

Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Weasley!

This Mother’s Day, in addition to all the wonderful women who have “mothered” me in my life, I would also like to send a tribute to my favorite fictional mother, Mrs. Molly Weasley.

Julie Walters as Molly Weasley

Quote by J.K. Rowling from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Julie Walters as Molly Weasley

Quote by J.K. Rowling from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Who could forget this infamous howler she sent Ron in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Who is your favorite fictional mother? Let us know in the Comments. And don’t forget to do something nice for your mother this weekend!

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

February 13, 2014

Happy Harry Potter Valentine’s Day

Posted by at 1:31 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

Harry Potter Valentine Inspiration

I think Harry Potter is the perfect Valentine’s Day read for so many reasons. Harry and Cho. Lavender and Won-Won! Hermione and Victor Krum. Harry and Ginny. Ron and Hermione. But my favorite love quote from the Harry Potter series comes from Professor Dumbledore.

"If there is one thing Voldemore cannot understand, it is love." J.K. Rowling

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

What is your favorite Valentine’s inspiration from Harry Potter? Tell us in the Comments and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

–Sonja, STACKS Staffer

 

 

January 30, 2014

J. K. Rowling Exclusive Sneak Peek!

Posted by at 10:27 am in Authors, Harry Potter | Permalink

Check it out, Harry Potter fans!

We’ve got a sneak peek (or would it be sneak listen?) at 3 brand new clips of J. K. Rowling talking about one of her most colorful characters from the Harry Potter series.

In honor of his birthday on January 26, we bring you 3 exclusive audio clips about Professor Gilderoy Lockhart!

  1. Listen to J. K. Rowling talk about which house Gilderoy Lockhart was sorted into. Play
  2. Listen to J. K. Rowling discuss Gilderoy Lockhart’s ambitious mother. Play
  3. Listen to J. K. Rowling reveal the secret behind Gilderoy Lockhart’s hair-care range. Play

Enjoy!

January 9, 2014

Happy Birthday, Professor Snape

Posted by at 1:10 am in Harry Potter | Permalink

January 9 is Severus Snape’s birthday!

While I am very happy I never actually had a teacher as mean as Professor Snape, I am a HUGE Snape fan. I won’t give away any spoilers in case you haven’t finished the Harry Potter series yet, but Snape’s story is so tragic and heroic. I just love him! Happy Birthday, Professor! SnapeQuoteAre you a fan of Professor Snape? Leave your birthday wishes in the Comments.

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

December 16, 2013

Harry Potter in Real Life!

Posted by at 4:35 pm in Harry Potter | Permalink

harry potter irl 1“Do you know where Platform 9 3/4 is?”

Here at the STACKS we love all things Harry Potter-related. (Check out our Harry Potter Book Club, and get a load of these awesome stamps.) So when we heard about “Harry Potter in Real Life,” we flipped.

Improv Everywhere—a super-cool group that gets ordinary people to pull massive, hilarious pranks—dressed up an 11-year-old actor as Harry Potter on his way to Hogwarts and let him loose in New York City’s Penn Station. He wandered around, suitcases, ticket, and caged Hedwig in tow, asking passengers and transit workers for directions to Platform 9¾. Some people were confused, but mostly people laughed and smiled and tried to help the Boy Who Lived as best they could. Strangers tried to help Harry to check his luggage, get Hedwig something to eat, and somehow find his way to Hogwarts.

harry potter irl 2After unsuccessfully trying to run through platform 9, learning he was unable to pay for things using wizard currency, and taking (many!) photos with fans, Harry gave up on his quest and went home. While it’s sad that our hero never did locate the Hogwarts Express, he nonetheless provided a very memorable afternoon for the people at Penn Station!

What do you think of this prank? What would YOU have said if Harry Potter approached you in a train station and asked you for directions? We’d love to know—share in the Comments below! Wanna talk more Harry Potter? Hop on over to our Harry Potter Message Boards to chat with other fans!

– En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

Photo credit: Arin Sang-urai

December 12, 2013

Harry Potter Postage Stamps

Posted by at 12:04 pm in Harry Potter | Permalink

harry-potter-stamps130This makes me want to send a Hogwarts letter to everyone I know!

A set of 20 Harry Potter stamps is now available at post offices all across the U.S. Think of all the things you could do with them!

  • Decorate your locker or notebooks.
  • Paste them onto wooden sticks and make Harry Potter paper dolls. Then reenact all your favorite scenes.
  • Add them to the Harry Potter shrine currently set up in your room.
  • Send Hogwarts letters to your friends! (“We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”)
  • Send YOURSELF a Hogwarts letter (because you know you want one, and wouldn’t it be a secret thrill to actually get one via Muggle post with a Harry Potter stamp on it??)
  • Or you could just send, you know, holiday cards.

HarryPotterStamps1HarryPotterStamps2

Tell us in the Comments which one is your favorite, if it’s even possible to have a favorite, and what you would do with your Harry Potter postage stamps.
image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer