‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’ Arrives

It’s set in the Hogwarts era before Harry arrives, “when Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley were students”:

Before launching this spring, the title will be introduced to fans at the upcoming A Celebration of Harry Potter event at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida from January 26-28. There, attendees will be able to go behind the scenes via two panels hosted by the Jam City team as well as visiting the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery booth to receive exclusive swag, play the game, meet members of the game team, and experience other magical surprises.

“Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a role playing experience about magic, friendship, and life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “We can’t wait to give fans a first look at the game at A Celebration of Harry Potter, and this spring players will be able to explore Hogwarts fully in their journey toward becoming a witch or wizard.”

The game is set in the time between Harry Potter’s birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts, when Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley were students. The avatar customization system allows you to continually upgrade your avatar as you gain new expertise and magical skills – you can even choose your own pet. You will join one of the four Houses before progressing through your years at Hogwarts, participating in magical classes and activities such as Potions and Transfiguration. Building your skills will come in handy as you solve mysteries and go on adventures. As players improve their skills, they will unlock new locations, spells and other magical abilities. 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery features both large plot arcs and smaller stories such as relationship quests. The game features a new encounter system in which player’s decisions in both actions and narrative impact their quests, and how other characters regard and interact with them. These choices will allow Harry Potter fans to create the legacy of the witch or wizard they want to become. 

As Potter-Pokemon-Go, the Chicken Little in me screams that this will distance Potter-philes from the imaginative experience of the books as much and even more profoundly than the film ‘adaptations.’

You?

Fan-Made Voldemort, Origins of the Heir, a Dazzling Surprise

Image may contain: 1 person, textIt’s no secret that I generally have little patience with fanfiction in its various forms. Though I know that some fanfiction is not bad, and some is even pretty good, I am generally turned off by the fact that so much of it is bad for so many reasons: poor artistic and grammar skills, juvenile wish-fulfillment that is not appropriate for a public readership, failure to understand or respect the author’s original vision, and an appalling amount of outright pornography and other filth.  Thus, it always a delight when I see “fan-made” work that impresses both with its technical accomplishments and faithfulness to the work from which it springs. This week, an Italian filmmaking team, Tryangle, released their film Voldemort: Origins of the Heir on youtube. It’s really quite an accomplishment, as demonstrated by the fact that it garnered 4 million views in its first 24 hours online. I do have a few quibbles, of course, but also some kudos, and a few questions (Yes, alliteration is fun. No, there just are not enough words in English that begin with “q”). [Read more…]

Voldemort: Origins of the Heir

Attack of The Last Jedi

SPOILER ALERT: Go see Star Wars: The Last Jedi already, will you? Quit dragging your Jedi boots! Then come back and read this piece, and tell us what you think in the comments.

My favorite Star Wars movie is Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. Wait – don’t go! Let me explain. First, please note: I didn’t say “Attack of the Clones is the best Star Wars movie.” I said it was my favorite. I understand and to some extent agree with cinematic critiques of that film, and I’ve only ever watched the film on DVD, which means I can easily skip all the romantic scenes with Anakin and Padmé, which are, admittedly, difficult to watch. What’s left of the film – Obi-Wan Kenobi (played brilliantly by Ewan MacGregor) on an extended Dick-Tracy-esque sleuthing adventure, the backstory of the villainous bounty hunter Boba Fett, and best of all, some important advances in the Prequels’ subtle and complicated subtext of the Jedi Order’s downfall – is pure heaven to me, despite disagreement, even derision, from many Star Wars fans.

So I’m fine with liking a movie that isn’t perfect. I find perfection a bit boring, honestly. But the bones of a film have to be good, like the bones of a well-built house. The Last Jedi, while an imperfect film in some ways, gives us that solid space in which our imaginations can dwell, even as it challenges and shocks us. In this way, it’s not unlike Attack of the Clones, with its misdirective title and its quite nuanced subtext. The difference is with Clones, we knew where we were headed: the creation of Darth Vader, the birth of Luke and Leia and the destruction of the Jedi Order. With The Last Jedi, we’re in uncharted territory; we’re vulnerable, floating in space with no space suit. Characters we revere aren’t who they were, characters we trust make bad decisions, and characters we don’t like turn out to be right. Events seem only to lead to devastating failures for the Resistance, for the First Order, for the Jedi (whatever that is anymore), and we do not know where the franchise is headed at the film’s conclusion. When the credits roll, we have more questions than answers. [Read more…]

BBC Scotland: Harry Potter’s Edinburgh

The link to the BBC Scotland radio broadcast is here. You can listen anytime for three weeks before the BBC link dies. And it is a lot of fun.

The show is about how Edinburgh as the home of J. K. Rowling has become a pilgrimage point of sorts for Harry Potter true believers. I thought it was very well done — and I hope I’m not saying that because they interviewed me for the show as well as friend-of-this-blog, Oxford’s Beatrice Groves. She happens to be an authority on literary pilgrimages and the real thing, so her portion of the discussion makes the whole thing more than worth the time. (At the link, ‘Harry Potter’s Edinburgh’ begins just after 3:00 of news programming.) Enjoy!

And Happy New Year!