Archive for the ‘Harry Potter’ Category

And I love it. Of course few of the commentors get that he’s being darkly funny.

It just isn’t going to end, it isn’t ever going to end. There are going to be new Harry Potter books coming out every year for the rest of my life. I just know it.

That blasted Scottish woman promised she was only going to write seven of them and then stop. But she lied. She just rotten lied, purely to push up the value of the ones she has published already. It’s like the diamond market. She is the De Beers of literature, hoarding away tons of this intrinsically worthless stock, for which people have an inexplicable and very base lust, and trickling it out on to the market gradually, for billions, under the threat of an impending (and imaginary) shortfall in supply.

Of course I still want to read the 800-word story.

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There’s much speculation going on about the current lawsuit between J.K. Rowling and RDR Publishing about the Lexicon. My newsgroups are all of a sudden full of folks who’ve never before bothered to read the Fair Use clause and are now trying to practice law over the internet. (Since that’s a favourite pastime of my own, I can’t really fault them. But even I admit that non-attorneys practicing law over the internet are kinda silly. Myself included.)

While I’m not an attorney and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express or play an attorney on TV, I did work in Publishing and Trademark Rights for a number of years, and so I’m what you might call a lay expert.

A lot of folks in the fandom are very upset that JKR is “attacking” Steve VanderArk. After years of her working hand-in-glove with her fan base, it can seem a little bit callous to suddenly sue a person whose site she has admittedly turned to herself for reference. The fact that she’s got a bajillion dollars doesn’t help her any in the court of public opinion. I think back to a post on Ron Coleman’s site that talked about “Piggy Lady Rowling”. (For all you fans out there, Ron Coleman is an ACTUAL copyright lawyer, so it’s good to drop in on his site to get some real information.)

I said last fall and I say now that I side with Rowling in this matter, even though I think she may lose. The thing is that when I was working in P&T Rights our attorneys drummed into our head that the most important thing we could do was “vigorously defend” our trademarks. I spent long hours sending letters to random people just to ensure that my company was on record as defending its ownership of the various things we copyrighted. If we didn’t fight the small battles we could lose the big one.

That’s why I personally think Rowling is going toe-to-toe with the Lexicon. If she doesn’t stop RDR (who?) Publishing from printing a few thousand copies of this book, she’ll have less of a leg to stand on should Random House decide to print a few million copies of another “Guide To Harry Potter” book.

Of course, I also think that Vander Ark saw what MuggleNet did by putting out their own book of original material and decided that he wanted some of that shelf-space. Shame Vander Ark is a cataloger instead of a writer, because his material consists of reorganising Rowling’s work as opposed to writing original commentary, like MuggleNet did.

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Amazon’s throwing a contest. The winner gets to go to London for a weekend wherein they will get a chance to visit the priceless Tales of Beedle The Bard purchased by Amazon at auction.

Open to muggles ages 13 and older in 24 countries, the Beedle the Bard Ballad Writing Contest challenges you to creatively answer one of the following three questions in 100 words or less:

• What songs do wizards use to celebrate birthdays?
• What sports do wizards play besides Quidditch?
• What have you learned from the Harry Potter series that you use in everyday life?

I happen to think this is quite possibly the coolest contest I’ve seen in a long time. I note that the Grand Prize Winner is announced the day before my birthday. (Or on somebody else’s birthday, if you want to get picky about it.) How cool a present would it be if I won? Well, cool for ME anyway.

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When news of Dumbledore’s homosexuality first came out (ha!), I had two thoughts, right next to each other. The first was “well, duh.” The second was “Oh great. Now Gambon is going to turn Dumbledore into Richard Dreyfus’ Richard III.”

So it was with a mixture of self-satisfaction and revulsion that I read this.

“I thought it was hilarious,” said Daniel Radcliffe, who has played the lead role in all five Harry Potter films.

He said actor Michael Gambon, who has played Dumbledore since the third film, had been “really camping it up for the last three weeks ever since he found out”.

I swear I hate Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore with every fibre of my being. I’m soooo not looking forward to being treated to his take on Gay Dumbledore.

UPDATE As I read further down in the article I see that David Yates makes it clear that he’s confining Gambon’s camping it up to OFF CAMERA.  Well, that’s nice for me (that I don’t have to see Gambon’s idea of what “gay” looks like), but really.  What is Michael Gambon’s problem?  Can’t we just hear that a person is gay without going into comic rifts and “camping it up”?

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This post over at MCB sent me on a rabbit trail back to the original article. Am I upset that JK Rowling is publishing an elitist book which will be available to SEVEN people only? Eh, kind of. But knowing how she works and having seen the Lucas Model in action for the past 25 years I suspect that Rowling will eventually make ‘The Tales of Beedle The Bard’ available to a wider audience. That’s not what really got me. It was this:

On Wednesday, Rowling and the makers of the Harry Potter movies filed a lawsuit against RDR Books, a small U.S. publisher that plans to bring out a companion volume based on the Harry Potter Lexicon fan Web site.

Rowling has said she plans to produce her own encyclopedia of the wizarding world and says the book would infringe on her intellectual property rights.

I really respect the Lexicon, and have for years. It suits me right down to the ground in the anal way it has compiled all of the details from the world of Harry Potter. Every beast and birthday mentioned in the books can be found there. You might say it’s an INTJ Organisational Fanatic’s dream website. Steve Vander Ark is one of my personal whateveryouwanttocallits. I want to be him when I grow up, and I have loved his segments on the various Potter podcasts.

I’ve contributed–in a small way–to the Lexicon in the past. I’ve sent emails about errors and answers to questions from other readers. It’s a site that many people have been very involved in for many years. In addition to the little things there are reams of wonderful essays about everything from Time Travel to wizarding horticulture.

So what’s my point?

I hate it when online communities publish books for profit using the work product of their communities of users.

It’s very difficult for writers to have their work published in the mainstream media. Talent is the merest fraction of the equation; money and connections are far more important. Yet the hardest part of being a writer–for me anyway–is churning out the content. I spend hours of my time contributing to various websites, and have for years. It’s a hobby and a labour of love.

There are a lot of people in the Old Media who view online writing (and now video) as a field of manna–good eating just laying there on the ground for the taking. These book publishers and news stations give little credit–or none–to the workers who provide the product. It’s completely exploitative.

Years of working with licensing contracts in the publishing and gift industry have made me more savvy. I won’t contribute to any site which claims ownership and full use of my work. But there are thousands of people without the benefit of my work experience who post to sites like The Lexicon without knowing their work will become someone else’s free lunch.

That steams me.

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If you are just now figuring out that a man who wore a purple suit, was unmarried for the entirety of his long life, acted rather flamboyantly and was only described as having an intimately close relationship with a young man might be gay…


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Today’s Daily Mail has a little story on JK Rowling.

The thrust of the tale is that she looks better now that she’s rich. Thanks for that “news”, fellas! Every woman has an innate understanding that she too could look more conventionally pretty with a bajillion dollars at her beck and call.

No, I don’t resent Rowling. I DO resent the stories we used to see about Oprah and now see about her. The ones which imply that gosh-she-was-haggard-and-close-to-ugly but then celebrate what wonders being rich can do for one’s looks.

What I did find most interesting about the article, though, was this tidbit:

JK Rowling is currently labouring over the plot of her next book – a crime thriller.

Her last, the final instalment of Harry Potter, was released earlier this year.

But a friend said: “She is concerned how her legions of young fans might take this new book. She would like to write a measure of violence and sex into it – but is worried whether that will alienate all those Potter fanatics.”

We’ll not go into the fact that Rowling’s “next book” has been rumoured to be now part of three different genres. Once it was a “sweet romance”, another rumour was a “political fairy story” (and HP wasn’t that?) and now this. I wonder how Val McDermid will take to having Rowling in her puddle.

Personally, this Potter fanatic reads a lot of violence and sex, too. I’m not six, after all.

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Lately I’ve been getting a lot of traffic to this eight-month old post. Given the subject matter, I’d chalked it up to a higher-than-usual perv rate among Harry Potter fans now that the final installment of the book is out.

Finally, though, it seems that at least one visitor saw fit to enlighten me.

The most recent saga over user-generated Harry Potter artwork appears to have started late last week, when at least two users, “ponderosa121” and “elaboration,” reported receiving notices from a LiveJournal abuse team member who informed them that their accounts had been “permanently suspended.” (One user tracking the situation says an “undetermined” number of other Harry Potter artists have also been suspended in recent weeks, but we’ve yet to get official confirmation on that.) The reason for the deletions? The users’ journal entries contained “drawings depicting minors in explicit sexual situations,” which represented a violation of LiveJournal’s policies, according to copies of the letters posted by their recipients.

Pardon me if I don’t cry my eyes out over this “violation of rights”. You can smack me down with Bad Libertarian points all you like, but I frankly don’t think that LiveJournal is a public service. Rather, they are a private (corporate) entity and as such has every right to curtail the use of their forums when it comes to kiddie porn.


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These aren’t ALL Potter-related, but some are…so here’s the MORE tag to spare you any spoilers, gang.


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How Could I Forget?!

Short Harry Potter Spoiler Post


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