Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling settles lawsuit with fired agent

Just yesterday, it was leaked to the press
that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling
was in the process of setting a lawsuit
which had been filed against her by her
ex-publishing agent, Christopher Little.

Although this sudden announcement
caught fans off-guard and made for 
much discussion, both J.K. Rowling
and Mr. Little have not spoken much publicly about the affair.

This was the post that was made
yesterday by the Daily Mail's website:

(Mr Little, age 70,) who has been seriously ill for some time, 
said in a statement at the time that he was ‘disappointed and surprised’ 
to learn she had ‘terminated her association’ with his agency. 

Miss Rowling, 46, who has an estimated fortune of £500 million, 
joined a new agency set up by lawyer Neil Blair who, 
until last summer, was Mr Little’s business partner for ten years.

This cannot be a coincidence, due to the timing of the separation,
which was declared just after J.K. Rowling officially announced her latest
Harry Potter-related project, Pottermore.

It is understood that she and  Mr Blair had worked closely on Pottermore when they were both still with Little. It is expected  to earn her many more millions through the exclusive sale of ebooks and online games. 

The results of the settlement have not yet been announced.
It is unknown if, or when, fans will know the results of this latest lawsuit.

Exclusive: Pottermore.com to go off-line tomorrow for updates!

According to a very recent post made today by the
Pottermore Insider blog, Pottermore.com will be
shutting down temporarily for software updates.

According to Pottermore Insider,
this is due to the fact that the Pottermore team
is intending to "tweak" Pottermore in order to
get it closer to being released.

Here is the announcement itself:

Wednesday 25 January

Pottermore will be offline for scheduled maintenance on 
Thursday, January 26, from 8:00am (GMT).

We’re making some tweaks and Pottermore will be back online by the end of the day.

If Pottermore is still intent on tweaking the site,
then it is apparent that Pottermore is not yet ready to go live.

The good news is that, although it isn't as close to being released as was hoped,
the Pottermore team is making headway in clearing Pottermore of any problems
that the player would normally have to encounter on their own.

It has been said that both Pottermore and the long-awaited Harry Potter e-books
would be available by the end of June. We only have about five months to go until then.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 still in the running for 3 Oscars!

To the shared disappointment of both Warner Bros.
and the Harry Potter fandom, Deathly Hallows: Part 2
is now in the running for only 3 Oscar Awards.

This comes as a disappointment, because it was
knocked out of major categories such as Best Film.

Here's a list of what it is still competing for:

- Art Direction
- Make-Up
- Visual Effects

We'll find out next month, on February 26th, if Deathly Hallows: Part Two
brings home any awards in the categories it is still nominated in.

Final Oscar Nominations to be announced tomorrow!

Sometime tomorrow, the complete list of Oscar Nominees
will be officially released online to the media.

The list will include the top 5 films in each category.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two
has been nominated for numerous awards,
but tomorrow, it all comes down to:

What will Deathly Hallows: Part Two
still be in the running for?

We'll find out tomorrow in what categories   
Deathly Hallows: Part Two will remain nominated for,
                                and what competition it will face next month at the 2012 Oscar Awards!

The announcement takes place at 5:30am PST/8:30am EST.
We'll post the results tomorrow after they are released.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 coming to MAC computers on February 16th!

According to an announcement made today
by Feral Interactive, the second LEGO HP game,
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, will be available
on MAC computers starting on February 16th.

Up until now, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
had only been available on PC and on most
  major gaming consoles, such as the PS3, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360.

Portable adaptions of the game have also been released
on systems like the Nintendo 3DS and PSP.

“LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is a wonderfully light-hearted
and imaginative game in which the characters’ special abilities
all have unpredictable effects on the world,”
said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive.

For system requirements, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 will,
at a minimum,  require a 1.4GHz Intel Mac with at least 2GB RAM,
128MB or better graphics card, and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later.

PhoenixCast is now on Facebook!

We have a special announcement to make concerning
our original Harry Potter podcast: PhoenixCast.

Although we normally report only on Harry Potter news,
this will lead to free communication between us,
and the viewer, YOU.

As of yesterday afternoon, PhoenixCast has made itself
available to a much wider digital audience,
and set up an official Facebook page!

You can now read up-to-the-minute news and announcements
concerning PhoenixCast, and find out details on upcoming shows
before we announce it anywhere else!

To follow us, you can "friend" us on Facebook, and be able to interact with us by
leaving comments, asking questions, or making suggestions.

Your feedback is highly valuable, and your feedback may make it onto a future episode!

Any feedback, (as long as it remains appropriate,) will be considered for
being read aloud and discussed on a future episode of  PhoenixCast.

Try now! Join us on our PhoenixCast page on Facebook!

To visit our Facebook page, go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/PhoenixCast-The-Unofficial-Harry-Potter-Podcast/326350970732120

J.K. Rowling makes new post on Twitter!

 Just only 12 hours ago, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling
 has updated her Twitter status with this following "tweet."
"Pen and paper are still my priority over tweeting. 
You can follow @pottermore to see what’s going on there."
This is the first time J.K. Rowling has tweeted
a message on her Twitter account for over 7 months.

Since Pottermore has already been created, and is close to being released online,
what could be J.K. Rowling's newest, secret pen-and-paper project?

If J.K. Rowling is working on something Harry Potter related, she's not saying.
She did say, however, that she was in the early process of writing something else,
something that does not involve Harry Potter in the slightest. Could this be it?

Pottermore releases new site update, new changes made to Wizard's Duel!

According to an announcement made by
Pottermore Insider earlier today,
another update was made to Pottermore.com .

This update, however, focuses on one
individual portion of the site,
the popular mini-game "Wizard's Duel."

Here is the original announcement concerning today's update:
In mid-December we completed the maintenance work on Wizard’s Duel. 
Since then we have been monitoring the site for your responses and activity.

We are thrilled that Wizard’s Duel is so popular, 

and wanted to explain what you may encounter when using it.

Every now and again you will be asked to fill in a CAPTCHA field, 

which we've added to ensure that the site is well-protected. 

We have also added a limit to the number of Duels you can perform in a given time frame, 
to make sure that all Pottermore Beta users can try their hand at Duelling. 

This does seem to be a disappointing feature.

In other words, when playing on Pottermore.com, you wouldn't be able
to play dueling limitlessly, but would be restricted to a certain amount of duels.
(Example: 1 duel every 15 minutes.)

As was explained, the reasons behind these rather strict measures
is to ensure that all Pottermore users will be able to duel.

This choice, although the average player wouldn't see much sense in these rules,
is also made to make sure that Pottermore itself does not crash from overuse.

Hearing these seemingly small announcements are helpful in one way, however:
It does indicate that Pottermore is drawing closer to being ready to go live online.

HP actor Tom Felton cast for voice-over for The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour!

According to a "tweet" he made on Twitter earlier today,
Tom Felton announced his new role for the upcoming
U.K. Harry Potter attraction: The Making of Harry Potter.

It is unclear how much voice-over material
that we can expect to hear from him.

Here is his post: "Today I've been recording the voice-over
for the Digital Guide for WB Studio Tours London."

WB Studio Tours London is a branch of Warner Bros.
which is the driving force behind The Making of Harry Potter.

Below is the official description of the Digital Guide, which is an audio/video portable device which gives you additional, various details on various parts of the tour.

Digital Guide

Our handheld audio-visual guides bring the Studio Tour to life in a completely new way. 

It contains fascinating facts about the sets, costumes and props, as well as newly produced interviews with filmmakers and never before seen behind-the-scenes footage. 

It is available in eight languages and can be pre-booked with your tickets. 
This is available to hire for just £4.95.

What do you think?
Does this announcement give a good reason to take a trip,
and visit The Making of Harry Potter yourself?

Harry Potter owls spotted across the U.S.

According to an online article originally published
by npr.org, snowy owls, which is the breed of owl
that Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl is known to be.

The snowy owls have been spotted in
numerous locations, including:
New York, Michigan, Oklahoma,
Kansas, some parts of Massachusetts,
and Vermont.

Although it's uncertain exactly why snowy owls are moving down further
into the U.S. now, npr.org does offer this possible explanation:

"It's result of a big population of Arctic lemmings —
the small rodents often depicted jumping off cliffs en masse —
which caused a great breeding season.

Lemmings are snowy owls' main food source, and the baby boom is sending many of the
youngsters across the border to scrounge for voles, field mice, rats, rabbits and shore birds."

Snowy Owls being spotted across the U.S. in such large numbers
is certainly unusual to say the least.

Now the question is: Will the U.S. continue to see large amounts of these iconic birds?

Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 both make it into Top Selling DVDs of 2011!

According to an article by Yahoo Movies U.K. ,

we now have the full and complete list of the
Top 10 Best Selling DVDs of 2011!

Both Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2
both made it as the top 2 DVDs on the list.

See the full list below.

Even having one of the Harry Potter movies on the
Top 10 list is good, having 2 on the list is great!

Please note that the actual sales numbers are not present,
                                                       but the results have been confirmed as official:

Top Ten Best Selling Titles Of 2011

1 - 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2'
2 - 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1'
3 - 'The Inbetweeners Movie'
4 - 'The King's Speech'
5 - 'Pirates Of The Caribbean - On Stranger Tides'
6 - 'Despicable Me'
7 - 'Paul'
8 - 'Tangled'
9 - 'Peter Kay - Live - The Tour That Didn't Tour'
10 - 'Transformers - Dark Of The Moon'

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 makes it into top 10 Oscar Visual Effects nominees

Just today,  Oscar organizers announced 10 finalists
which will be competing for the visual-effects award.

We had heard just last month that Deathly Hallows: Part 2
had made it into the top 15 contenders for the award.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is now competing with:
“Captain America: The First Avenger”;
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”;
“X-Men: First Class.” “Hugo”;
“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”;
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”;
“Real Steel”; “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”;
and “The Tree of Life.”

The academy’s visual-effects branch will be watching excerpts from each film
and will next select five nominees, which will be announced along with the
other Oscar nominations Jan. 24. The Oscar ceremony itself is set for Feb. 26.

Will Deathly Hallows: Part 2 make it into the top 5 candidates on January 24th?
We'll find out then.

New Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Oscar Consideration Videos now online!

Two new Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Oscar Consideration videos have been
officially released online by Warner Bros.

This is in an attempt to have the final HP film
 nominated in at least one category at the
 Oscar Awards, which take place in February.

You can watch both of the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 "Oscar Consideration" ads below.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is being considered for multiple Oscar Awards,
including Best Film, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound.

We'll see in February what awards, if any, that Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will win.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion plans leaked online! (Part 3)

 As was discussed in the two previous posts,
 details of the expansion planned for the
 Wizarding World of Harry Potter
 was leaked online unofficially,
and most of the information was about
a new ride that fans will get to go on,
which will be located in Gringotts bank,
one of the most iconic Harry Potter locations.

"...After the load platform, the two load channels merge to the south,
then bearing to the left and entering Scene 1: "Turntable."

In this scene, you'll face a brick wall, with two tunnel entrances,
to the left and right. But before you proceed, the track below the first
of the twin cars will drop from underneath that car.

The track will come to rest at a 40-degree angle.
Then, the track under the trailing car will begin to rise,
matching the 40-degree angle of the leading car.

At that point, the two cars will drop in tandem into a third tunnel,
below the tunnel on the right.

Basically, we've just ridden a teeter-totter-like vertical track switch,
attaching to the roller coaster track for our initial drop.

From there, we drop into Scene 2: "Dark Tunnel,"
a kinetic ride section with a small bunny hop and a hard right turn
before we hit a block brake in preparation for Scene 3: "Ledge."

The Gringotts ride won't be a traditional roller coaster.
There are 3D projection screens throughout the ride,
embedded in the rockwork of the tunnel walls, creating an illusion of open space,
within which we'll watch battles taking place.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion plans leaked online! (Part 2)

As was discussed in the last news post,
Details of the expansion of Universal's
"Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park
have been leaked online for everyone to see.

"For pedestrians in Universal Studios Florida,
there appears to be a single point of entry into
the new part of theHarry Potter park, one that
requires walking around a center obstacle
inside what appears to be an enclosed space."

"This would fit with being a "secret entrance" to Diagon Alley, from the Harry Potter books
and films. There also is what appears to be labeled an 8,900-square-foot restaurant building located immediately to the left of the entrance to the land. Could this be the Leaky Cauldron?"

"From the entry, there is a street that proceeds straight back
to the rounded entrance facade of the Gringotts building."

A lot of new details on a new Gringotts-based theme park ride was revealed:
"It looks like we can expect another elaborately themed walk-through queue tour,
...the queue appears to leave the building into shaded, then covered, areas before
re-entering into the large "Bankers Hall."

We get some information on the rooms inside Gringotts.
"The next room in the queue is "Vault Display," then the "Reading Room."
From there it's into what's labelled "Office Hallway" before we reach "Bill Weasley's Office."
The next feature is labelled "Elevators," which take us up a level in order to cross over
the ride tracks to access the center load island."

We also get a sneak peek at the vehicles in which ride-goers will ride in:
"There are two load channels for the ride, with loading on the center island,
and unloading off to the outsides. The ride vehicles are twin, 12-person, open-air cars, arranged in three rows of four. Each row is placed slightly higher than the row in front of it,
in a "stadium seating" effect. The look of the cars is very Victorian, with individual lap bars
and six Dolby speakers per seat for on-ride audio."

Very high-tech equiptment, all in all.
If even half of this information is true, then all Harry Potter fans
are in for a treat when they go to the theme park after its expansion.

Because of all this information, and not wanting to leave any of it out,
the rest of the expansion plans will be posted in another post later tonight.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion plans leaked online! (Part 1)

Finally, after someone "leaked" it online,
we have parts of the long-awaited plans for the
Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion.

 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
 was originally built in Universal Orlando,
 and was immensely successful,
both in financial terms and visitor reviews.

 The announcement of its expansion was
very well received by both press and fans.

According to the article:
"The plans occupy the space between the Fear Factor Live theater and the Disaster! show building on the northwest corner of Universal Orlando- basically all the land now occupied
by the Jaws attraction and surrounding Amity carnival games and shops."

"The northernmost section of the plot - almost half the land within it -
is planned for a massive show building, which will house the Gringotts ride."

This article also confirms the rumor of a Hogwarts Express train ride,
which would connecting the two parts of the HP theme park.
"On the southeastern portion of the plot, a second attraction is designated.
I can't tell from the plans what this attraction will be, but its position is consistent
with the rumor of a Hogwarts Express ride connecting the two Harry Potter land,
as this attraction points into the back-of-house access road that runs straight into
the rear of Sindbad theater where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is expanding
into in Islands of Adventure."

There are a ton of more new details,
which will be explored at length in our next post.

Thanks to themeparkinsider.com for this exciting news.