Archive for May, 2007

June WotM on

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

The Wizard of the Month calendar on Jo’s official site has gone blank. Apparantly a glitch that I’m sure will be fixed soon.

And now it’s fixed :)

Salazar Slytherin
Medieval (precise dates unknown)
One of the four celebrated Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Salazar Slytherin was one of the first recorded Parselmouths, an accomplished Legilimens, and a notorious champion of pureblood supremacy.

Second set report…a little more detail

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I just posted the second report from my set visit last September. This is also just a teaser, since I am still forbidden to do a full and detailed report until the film is released. I hope this gives you a little more idea of the creativity and fun that goes into the making of the Harry Potter films.

I’ve also added some “on the set” details to the page about the Head’s Office. I’m hoping to add this kind of detail to more pages soon. In the meantime, let me just say that I am SO excited for the release of Order of the Phoenix. From everything I’ve heard and from the people I’ve talked to who have seen a rough cut of the film, it’s clear that this one will be truly incredible, maybe the best one yet.

Jo updates website to announce booksigning

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Jo has updated her site with an announcement of her plans for July 21st! Tickets for a massive booksigning event will be distributed through her English-language publishers:

She has really focused this book launch on the fans. In her words, “It has been a long time since I’ve done a signing and had the chance to speak to readers individually, so I’m delighted that we are launching the book in this way. It will be wonderful for me to get the chance to speak to people who have already read a few chapters while in the queue!”

Edit: As far as the publisher restrictions, please take a deep breath and remember what it was like in 1999 and 2000 when Jo would try to make author appearances and far more people would show up than the event could handle. For example, on a tour of England on the Hogwarts Express so many people showed up at at least one of the stops that Jo was not allowed to get out of the train. Imagine what it was like for her to have to watch her tearful fans from inside the train. There’s just Jo, and there is aaaallll of us. I don’t have any inside information on this, but I can’t fault her publishers for trying to set limits.

More on my California adventure

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

This past weekend, as I mentioned, I spent some time in a studio in Burbank shooting a television special. This will air on A&E in July as part of the lead-in to the film premier. I was only a small part of the whole production, so I have no way of knowing how much I’ll actually be seen, but it was exciting to be involved. I kept thinking, “I’m just this guy from Michigan! What am I doing here?”

I asked the producer about what he would be comfortable with me sharing here on the Lexicon. He asked that I not say much at all for now, and of course I’ll honor his wishes on that. I’m really looking forward to seeing the show…and hoping that I don’t come across as too much of a dork :)

Probably no way around that, I’m afraid.

Thanks so much for all the good wishes and kind comments you all left. I am part of the best website staff in the world and we all appreciate your support as we build and maintain the Lexicon for you.

First images of Black Family Tree (movie artwork)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Black Family Tree, copyright 2007 Warner Brothers.As a former art history student and someone who has labored over the Lexicon’s pages on the Black Family Tree I was ecstatic to see the first images showing Warner Brothers’ interpretation (right; click on image to see larger version). The tapestry appears to be huge, with a dark green background and portraits of the family members instead of just names. And the names are written on scrolls similar to the movie version of the Marauder’s Map. Do they move like the chocolate frog cards? I’d love to know.

This image is from the British version of the Warner Brothers OotP website. So far it is not on the American WB site, although over there you can get an awesome desktop of Sirius standing in front of the tapestry.

I think the portion of the tapestry we can see is supposed to show the Black family during the late Medieval period. Compare them to artwork by Jan Van Eyck (“Man in the Red Turban” 1433), Hans Holbein (“Robert Cheseman” 1533). They are even more similar to 19thC Medieval-revivalist paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites (Tempting of Merlin) and tapestries by William Morris (Flora) (Knights of the Round Table). Even the Morris font and scrolls look similar. Are the turbans the set designer’s idea of what a wizard hat might have looked like in the 1500s?

I can’t wait to see the rest of the tapestry.

Update: In a recent Empire Magazine (“Deconstructing Harry,” July 2007) article, David Heyman is quoted as saying “Jo keeps the books and films very separate,” says Heyman. “I’m the one calling her up, making sure we don’t do anything that will mess with her fiction. She really wants the films to be as good as they could be. We needed to visualise Sirius Black’s family tree, so we told Jo. And she said ‘I understand.’ Fifteen minutes later a fax came through with the entire Black family tree which had the family crest, their motto, with eight generations of Blacks with all their names. Her world is embedded in her.” No transcript yet, but there are scans over at Leaky’s Galleries. Thanks to Jules and everyone who sent that to me! By the way, All we have so far is a partial tree with 6 generations.

Update #2: an Italian fansite has posted an image of the tree that appears to have a burn-out. I would have noticed sooner but I was distracted by Sirius’s dressing gown.

Update #3: Wow, I think this Italian stickerbook is eventually going to show the whole movie! Here’s one more of the tree, this one showing several burn-outs and what might be the crest (above Harry’s head). Thanks to Bandersnatch and Jules for the nudge. Belated thanks to for posting all these new images!

Update #4: David Heyman is now saying that Jo provided a tree with six generations, not eight. Quotage:

Heyman still marvels at Rowling’s mind. A scene in “Phoenix” features a tapestry embroidered with the ancestors of Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black. The book mentions a few names, but the filmmakers needed to make the whole thing. “So I e-mailed Jo and asked her if she could give us a few more names,” Heyman says. “About 15 minutes later we received a family tree that goes back six generations with names, birthdates, family crests, a motto. It was all in her head.” Source: Newsweek, June 18, 2007

Update #5 (June 22, 2007): In a press conference, Heyman has mentioned the tree a third time, telling reporters that Jo gave them a tree: “with seventy-five names covering five generations, birth dates, marriage dates and family exorcisms.” The tree as is currently known only has forty-three names on it so when and if Jo’s full tree is ever released we will know quite a bit more about familial relationships in the Wizarding World! Source: The Leaky Cauldron special report

Portkey Tricks part 1

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Hundreds of you have visited the Portkey now. I’m sure that a good many of you are wondering what the big deal is. So it searches synopses of the books. So what? Why the big kefuflle about such a simple tool? Over the next weeks I’m hoping to help answer that question by showing some of what the Portkey can actually do and a little bit about how it does it.

First of all, let me take you to an entry that has quite a bit of information. Click here to go to the entry about PS chapter 1, pages 8-9.

Some of what you see has been entered individually by the data entry team. John wrote the synopsis, for example. Our volunteers entered the location in canon, the characters appearing, the setting and timeframe, and the icons and tags.

Some of what you see, though, is pulled in on the fly as the various tabs are displayed. When you click on the Reader’s Guide, for example, the program pulls from a database of commentary entries anything which falls into that range of pages. The same is true for the images.

This is where the true magic is taking place. As the Lexicon’s databases expand, you see, all the information we have will be tagged, iconned, and given ID codes to connect it to places in the books. We will be adding codes to the essays, to encyclopedia entries, to timeline events, to characters, images, and so on. When you ‘Explore’ a section of canon in the Portkey, you will have available all the vast resources of the Lexicon at your fingertips.

This is the ultimate Harry Potter research tool.

Let’s look at an example of how this works. Click here to view the ‘Explore’ entry for Fantastic Beasts pages xvi-xvii. If you click on the Timelines and Calendars tab, you’ll see two “Related Timeline Events.” No one entered these specifically on this page. Instead, when you clicked on the link, these events were automatically pulled out of the Timeline database because they have been given a code that matches this part of canon.

You won’t find these links yet for much of the Portkey. That’s because we’re still busy databasing everything. As we go, more and more information will start appearing as you explore.

There’s a lot more to tell you about. Just wait until you see what we’re going to do with the icons!


Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

I received a message the other day from John Granger, who is a good friend, telling me that someone from A&E television wanted to talk to me. I called the fellow up and as it turns out, he wants me to be part of a television special A&E is putting together about Harry Potter speculation, to be aired sometime in July. So it looks like I’ll be flying to LA this weekend and doing some interviews, along with John and Janet Batchler. Is that cool or what?!

Happy Birthday Pomona Sprout

Monday, May 14th, 2007

The Wizard of the Month calendar on Jo’s official site has changed to display Happy Birthday wishes for May 15th to Pomona Sprout.
Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the new interactive site.

Diary update on

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Jo has updated her Diary this morning with a plea against fans causing Spoilers for Deathly Hallows.

Something I had to do…

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Two days ago I did something I’ve never done before. I sicced my lawyer on someone.

Believe me, this is not the way I like to operate. People steal material from the Lexicon all the time. Contributors for Wikipedia are famous for it. Yeah, it bothers me. Stealing is wrong. At least three published books have plagiarized quite shamelessly and never even given credit to the Lexicon. It bothers me a lot.

I send emails asking things to be removed and usually that’s the end of the matter. So when I found out about this guy, I just sort of shook my head and figured I’d send my usual gentle insistence that he stop stealing.

Except this one’s different. This fellow is basically out to scam fans out of money as fast as he can before book seven comes out. He’s written a book which he wants to sell and in order to sweeten the deal, he offers bonus material. This bonus material is all from the Lexicon, from Accio Quote, and from Jo’s website. I’m sorry, but that’s where I draw the line. I will not stand for someone stealing my material and using it to scam fans out of money.

So my lawyer sent him a cease and desist letter two days ago. We’re asking that he stop what he’s doing and that he return money to anyone who bought his book.

His response? He sent a jokey email to the people on his email list about being sued. He’s still merrily doing business. Perhaps he thinks we’re bluffing. He’s never met my lawyer.

I don’t like to do things like this. But this leech is not a true fan. He’s an opportunist who sees a chance to make some quick money by playing on fans’ enthusiasm leading up to book seven. I won’t mention him or his site by name because I don’t want to send traffic his way. I also don’t want to generate a storm of nasty emails from other fans or anything like that. We’ll let the legal process do what it’s supposed to do.

New FSA on

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Congratulations to HP Fan Zone! the latest recipient of Jo’s Fan Site Award!

FAQ’s on Jo’s Official site

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Jo has posted five new FAQ’s in About the Books this morning.
Lisa has updated the character pages with the new canon and I’ve updated the Guide to Jo’s site.