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Apr29

Harry Potter: The Exhibition - Paris review

Earlier this month, DailySnitcher rep Astri attended a press preview event for Harry Potter: The Exhibition held at La Cité du Cinéma in Paris. The film studio complex is the third stage of the European tour, following stopovers in Germany and Sweden, and is currently open to the public. Here is her report:

James and Oliver Phelps 
 
When I arrived at 4:30pm at La Cité du Cinéma, I was really excited to explore the exhibition and meet James and Oliver Phelps. The meet and greet with the twins was scheduled at 5pm and right after that, the tour of the exhibition with Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. That meant I had 30 minutes all to myself to visit the exhibition. I took in as much as I could and as many pictures as I could.

As I passed the entrance door, in a small room, there it was: the Sorting Hat. Nice way to start off the tour! I tried on the hat, all alone, on that small stool and got Sorted into Ravenclaw, my favourite house. Excitement built up even more inside of me. 

 Hogwarts Express
 
Next up, I was invited to view sequences from the Harry Potter films in a room filled with screens and at the end I could hear the whistle of a train, that’s when a wall rose to reveal the Hogwarts Express. I was then escorted along a platform to the portrait gallery, and that really kicked off the exhibition.

I found myself in the Gryffindor Common Room where there were many objects that belonged to the trio – from Harry’s wand and glasses, to the knitted sweater by Ron's mother, to the Marauder's Map.

Quidditch robes 
 
Then I saw costumes and props from some of the Hogwarts classrooms: Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Divination and Herbology. I pulled out a mandrake and heard its cries, as if I was attending Herbology class.

In the Quidditch section, I saw many objects such as the Golden Snitch, the Quidditch World Cup Trophy and Harry's brooms. Ever fancy trying to play Quidditch? Then you can be a Chaser for a few moments by trying to throw the Quaffle into one of the three hoop goal post. It was quite fun!

Hagrid props 
 
Afterwards, there was Hagrid’s Hut. Buckbeak the hippogriff stood right next it, and inside, all the furniture and props are giant sized. One of them is the famous pink umbrella. I also got to sit on Hagrid’s chair. 

Then I entered The Forbidden Forest filled with its magical creatures such as the centaurs, giant spiders and dragons. Seeing the size of the spiders, I totally understand Ron’s fear! Next up were the dark forces in a dark gloomy room, where I saw Voldemort’s costume and the Death Eaters’ robes and masks, and even a life-sized gravestone for of Tom Riddle. Seeing that gravestone made my heart ache a little, thinking about Cedric Diggory’s death. 

Wizard chessman 
 
Moving on, there was the creepy Dementor, the uniform of Azkaban's prisoners, as well as Kreacher, the Black family’s House Elf. All of the six Horcruxes were on display there, as well as some of the giant wizard chessmen guarding one of the chambers hiding the Philosopher's Stone. Imagining those pawns come to life during a game of wizard chess is really fantastic.

Hanging on the walls next to the Great Hall doors are some of the Educational Decrees created by the Ministry of Magic. Inside the Great Hall, illuminated by candles that float above the room, you can see the prom dresses for the Yule Ball, as well as Dumbledore’s costumes and a life-sized Dobby. I was especially fascinated by all the sweets and candy packages from Honeydukes and all the food that can be found on the Great Hall tables. Seeing all that made me hungry !

Yule Ball costumes 
 
I went back to the main entrance for the meet and greet with the Phelps twins. After the photo session, we took a tour of the exhibition accompanied by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. They shared with us the process of making of the props and the designs on the sets, and the stories behind them.

When I finally reached the exit and entered the souvenir shop, reality kicked in and I was really sad that it was already over. All those costumes, props and set pieces, made me feel as if I was truly in that magical place. I was able to enter the world of Harry Potter, not only in my imagination. And going through the exhibition with MinaLima and listening to them talking about designing the props, the sets and all the fun facts about the making of the movies, was almost overwhelming, and truly a day to remember.
 
More images from the exhibition can be seen here in our galleries. 
 
 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:00 )
 
Apr24

Very Good Lives book giveaway

In 2008, J.K. Rowling gave a commencement speech to the graduating class at Harvard University. You can now read her uplifting speech about the "fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination" in a new book, Very Good Lives, published by Little, Brown and Company.

We're giving away copies of this inspirational book to our readers! All you have to do to enter for your chance to win is to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and put VERY GOOD LIVES in the subject line. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends Sunday, April 26.

Those wishing to purchase a copy can do so here and take note that all proceeds from the sales of the book will benefit Lumos, a charity organization working to free children worldwide from institutionalized care.

 

Very Good Lives book cover 

 

 
Apr10

Queen of the Tearling paperback available April 14, sequel out June 9

The Queen of the Tearling, the first book in Erika Johansen's trilogy, will be released in paperback on April 14. The book is set in a seemingly medieval-ish kingdom, but actually takes place three centuries in the future, where an environmental catastrophe leaves everyone in the dark, literally - with no electricity, no technology - for centuries. In an attempt to restore democracy, teenage Kelsea must take over her Tearling kingdom and challenge opposition within her land to restore democracy, as well as face an evil Red Queen who holds considerable power in a neighboring kingdom.

Queen of the Tearling book cover 

 

If you have any doubts whether you'll like the story, just take Emma Watson's word for it. She'll be co-producing the film trilogy, along with Harry Potter producer David Heyman. The actress, who will also be starring as Queen Kelsea in the lead role, said, "My agent called and said, 'I have to be honest. This is a trilogy.' I was reluctant, but when I read the book, I really wanted to spend three years in that world. It's going to be intense and I am going to have to get physically very fit, build some muscle and learn how to wield a sword."

The second book in the series, The Invasion of the Tearling, is set to release June 9. 

 

 
Apr09

J.K. Rowling lights up the Empire State Building to launch her children's non-profit organization, Lumos USA

From Lumos --

.K. Rowling today (April 9) lit up the iconic Empire State Building in New York to mark the launch of Lumos USA as part of the NGO's global mission to bring light to the lives of eight million children living in orphanages and institutions around the world.

The world famous author came to America this week with the messages at the heart of Lumos' work – that 80% of children in orphanages are not orphans but have been separated from their families due to poverty, disability, conflict and disasters; and that families are the best place for them to grow up.  And in a bid to help shed light on this issue, has written a personal and thought-provoking article on the subject, which is available at www.jkrowling.com  

Named after the light-giving spell in the Harry Potter books, Lumos is an international non-profit organization  that helps countries reform their services for disadvantaged children, moving from systems based on residential institutions and orphanages that separate children from families to services which support them to stay together in the community.

Lumos' mission draws on decades of scientific evidence, including recently published work by Harvard University, showing that institutions have a negative impact on children's physical, emotional and intellectual development by depriving them of the close, individual care and attention parents provide within a family.

In launching Lumos USA, Patron J.K. Rowling said:

"Children need families, and families need their children and I believe it is entirely possible, with concerted effort, to help to transform the way the world cares for disadvantaged children.  We owe this to the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, most of whom do have parents and families who, given the right level of support, could care for them at home."

After a decade working with governments in Central and Eastern Europe to help them to close down State-run institutions for children and create new services that support vulnerable children stay with families, Lumos is now also working to address the use of largely privately-funded orphanages, which is increasing in many parts of the world. Lumos has recently begun to work in the Latin America and Caribbean region, focusing on Haiti, where more than 30,000 children live in orphanages, but at least 80% of them NOT orphans.

Encouraging reform of the funding that supports orphanages is a key part of Lumos' work. It has played an important role in influencing the way that European Union aid is now spent - to support community services for children and families, not to build or renovate institutions and orphanages. Lumos USA will build on this advocacy activity by working with US Government departments – including the US Agency for International Development – and bodies such as the World Bank to promote a similar funding principle. The right of children to live in families is one of the core principles of the US Government's Action Plan on Children in Adversity.

Georgette Mulheir, the Chief Executive of Lumos – who last year was named by a prestigious US academic website as one of the world's 30 most influential social workers – said:

"The USA, its citizens and, indeed, the international community have a huge role to play to influence the agenda on children outside of family care.  Foreign policy, development aid and individual giving can help shape the future for vulnerable children and their families in a sustainable way, ensuring that no child is denied the right to family life."

The United Nations is currently creating a set of post-2015 'Sustainable Development Goals' (SDGs) – a set of aspirations and principles, which will influence how billions of dollars in aid are used around the world. Early drafts have stressed the importance of child health, development, education, and protection, but does not recognize that a family is the only effective way of providing those vital elements.

In order to support Lumos' campaign to draw attention to the omission of families within the SDGs, J.K. Rowling wrote privately in March to leading figures in the United Nations, urging them to recognize the vital role of families and include targets for a significant reduction of numbers of children outside family care in the SDGs.

To celebrate the launch of Lumos Foundation USA, Lumos is raising funds to reunite children with families. For the next month, Lumos USA will run an online sweepstakes giving every eligible US resident who donates over $10, the opportunity to win one of four generously donated prizes:  two signed copies of J.K. Rowling's 'Very Good Lives' ; a VIP trip for four to Universal Orlando Resort to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and tickets to Comic Con in San Diego in July 2015.

One hundred percent of all donations to Lumos go directly towards their projects on the ground.

 
Apr07

World of Harry Potter TRIVIAL PURSUIT available May 2015

 

World of Harry Potter TRIVIAL PURSUIT allows fans to test their knowledge of this beloved movie franchise across 6 categories including: The Dark Arts, HOGWARTS™, Magical Spells & Potions, Magical Objects, Magical People and Animals & Magical Creatures.

Ages 8+ | 2+ Players | MSRP $19.95 | Available May 2015

Includes: 100 Questions/Answer Cards, 1 Custom Plastic Wedge Holder, 1 Custom Die, and Instructions
 
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