8 Things We Learned From The New Harry Potter eBooks September 7, 2016 – Posted in: Blog, Books, General – Tags: , ,

Here are eight of the biggest revelations from the new eBooks by Pottermore

Those who thought that the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007 marked the end of the franchise could not have been more wrong.

As well as the succeeding films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them due for release this November and the highly-acclaimed Cursed Child play delighting audiences in London, J.K. Rowling has kept die-hard Potter fans satisfied with regular writing and explanations from the wizarding world on the interactive fan website, Pottermore.

Now her enlightening updates and personal reflections have been knitted into three short story collections, launched as £1.99 each ($2.70) eBooks on 6th September. “Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeist”, “Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies” and “Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide” are packed with surprises and intricate details about much-beloved characters, insight into magical history and revelations of Rowling’s writing regrets. Here are the eight things we thought are the most interesting:

1. Which of J.K. Rowling’s creations made life the most complicated

The Marauder’s Map—a magical document that allowed Harry to see all of the goings on at Hogwarts—became “something of a bane to its true originator (me) because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information,” Rowling writes. However, regardless of the complication of the plot device, Rowling “on balance” is glad she didn’t let Harry leave the map in Mad-Eye Moody’s office as she “like[s] the moment when Harry watches Ginny’s dot moving around the school in Deathly Hallows“.

marauders-map

Like the Marauder’s Map, Hermione’s Time-Turner, which enabled her to time travel, opened up “an unlimited number of problems” for Rowling. To solve it, she emphasized, by means of Dumbledore and Hermione, how dangerous it would be to be seen in the past.

She also had Hermione give the Time-Turner back when she was done utilizing it and smashed all the remaining devices in during the Department of Mysteries battle. “This is just one example of the methods by which, when writing fantasy novels, one must be cautious what one invents,” Rowling writes. However the Time-Turner makes a comeback as the central plot device in the Cursed Child play.

2. What happens to Professor Quirrell in Sorcerer’s Stone

Professor Quirrell is “turned into a temporary Horcrux by Voldermort” in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling writes in Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists. This explains his weakened state; “he’s tremendously depleted by the physical pressure of fighting the far stronger, evil soul inside him”.

3. What came before the Sorting Hat

Before Rowling decided on a Sorting Hat as the way of dividing the students into the 4 houses, she dabbled with the thought of 4 statues taking charge. Writing in Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, Rowling explains that after deciding against a “Heath Robinson-ish machine that did all kinds of magical things before reaching a decision,” she “positioned 4 statues of the 4 founders in the Entrance Hall, which came alive and chose students from the throng in front of them while the school watched”.

This didn’t really feel proper though, and she ultimately settled on the Sorting Hat – inspired by the traditional notion of pulling names out of a hat to choose somebody for a game.

4. Why was the Hogwarts Express so controversial to start with

platform 9.75 harry potter

The Hogwarts Express is an integral part of Harry Potter. It’s on the magic train that Harry, Hermione and Ron first meet, where Harry first comes across a Dementor (which causes him to pass out) and the last, moving scene in the final book revolves around the Platform 9¾ drop off.

But getting the Hogwarts Express ready to transport witches and wizards to school was no simple feat – secret records at the Ministry of Magic detail a “mass operation involving one hundred and sixty-seven Memory Charms and the biggest ever mass Concealment Charm carried out in Britain”. The next morning, Muggle railway staff in Crewe woke with the uncomfortable notion that they had mislaid something essential – whereas villagers in Hogsmeade had been amazed to see a “gleaming scarlet steam engine” waiting in a station they didn’t know existed.

5. Who were the parents of Professor Minerva McGonagall

Undoubtedly a favorite of the Hogwarts lecturers, Transfiguration professor and later headmistress Minerva McGonagall is the first child of a Scottish Presbyterian minister named Reverend Robert McGonagall and a Hogwarts-educated witch named Isobel Ross.

Reverend Robert, a Muggle, believed that Isobel attended a selective girls’ boarding school in England and even after their baby was born, Isobel didn’t reveal her true id. Writing in Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Rowling explains that ultimately Isobel confessed the reality to Robert, who was “profoundly shocked by her revelation, and by the fact that she had kept such a secret from him for so long”.

6. What Remus Lupin’s werewolf condition actually meant

One of the most fascinating revelations Rowling has made about the books since the series ended was the fact that Remus Lupin – one of her “favorite characters” – and his condition of lycanthropy (being a werewolf) was a “metaphor for those diseases that carry a stigma like HIV and AIDS”.

“The wizarding community is as vulnerable to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me an opportunity to look at these attitudes,” she writes.

7. What does the name ‘Azkaban’ means

In Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Rowling writes that the name of the wizard’s jail, Azkaban, derives from Alcatraz – the high-security jail located in the San Francisco Bay, which Rowling describes as Azkaban’s “closest Muggle equivalent, being set on an island”.

The rest of the word is inspired by the Hebrew term “Abaddon,” which means “‘place of destruction’ or ‘depths of hell’”.

8. Sirius Black is NOT gay!

Ok, we didn’t learn this from the eBooks but actually some people inferred it from J.K Rowlings twitter feed. Some in the LGBT weren’t impressed (meaning they were really pissed) by this, but hey, finally this has been settled, right? Wrong! She clarified that the tweet which made people think she was talking about Black wasn’t, in fact about Black. So… we are still unsure of this one!

 

[We at the Audiobooks Book Shop are trying to get the rights for the three new eBooks and hope to sell them at a good discount, even though they are originally only £1.99 each]

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