“Harry Potter and the Dubious Hullabaloo” — The Red Hen Speaks

Joyce Odell, the Red Hen, has posted this fascinating theory that the spoiler text now available on many internet sites is actually a Joanne Rowling inspired if not written product to keep real spoilers from appearing during Potter Week. Ms. Odell has locked up her Red Hen Publications site from any changes now lest she be accused of having seen the foe/faux manuscript online so this appears on her never-before-used Live Journal page.

I so hope she is right. There are no spoilers on her post and none in the comment boxes as of Tuesday night.

One of the reasons I hope she is right is that even news reports of the spoiler text are beginning to give plot points from the supposed epilogue. I have cleansed the text from this AP report of its spoilers below if you want to read what’s going on without following the link and having the book spoiled (unless, of course, the Red Hen’s ultimate narrative misdirection theory is correct). Caveat Lector!

Harry Potter Spoilers Proliferate
Tuesday, July 17, 2007 9:56 PM EDT
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — In the final days before the world learns whether Harry Potter lives or dies, spoilers — or those pretending to spoil — are spreading on the Internet.

On Tuesday, digital images of what may be the entire text of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” including 36 chapters and a seven-page epilogue, were circulating among Web users. The book was apparently photographed as it lay on a carpet speckled with green and red, a hand at the bottom holding down the pages.

A separate link, www.zendurl.com/h/hallows, also displayed a seven-page epilogue and a 36-chapter table of contents from “Deathly Hallows,” coming out July 21 under ultra-tight security.

Similar information appeared Monday on spoilerboy.googlepages.com/home.

Meanwhile, a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, has said that he downloaded hundreds of pages from the 784-page book and U.S. publisher Scholastic, Inc., has been busy ordering would-be spoilers to remove their information from the Internet.

“I’m guessing we’re in the double digits,” says Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good, who added that requiring material to be pulled down did not mean it was authentic.

“There’s so much out there that it’s confusing for fans. Our lawyers are trying to keep down the amount of spoiler traffic that’s out there and clear it from places where fans might be reading.”

Anxious about keeping a lock on publishing’s ultimate mystery, Scholastic has refused all along to say whether a spoiler has the real book or not. According to Good, there is more than one version of the full Potter text on the Internet. She said the different versions all “looked convincing” and all had different content from each other.

Leaked copies of other highly anticipated works have appeared online in recent years, from O.J. Simpson’s canceled tale of murder, “If I Did It,” to “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” which could be downloaded before the film’s release with the help of a file-sharing program, BitTorrent, an apparent source of the full Potter book.

Author J.K. Rowling, who has said two major characters will die, has begged the public not to give away the ending to her seventh and final Potter book. Fan sites such as www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/ and www.mugglenet.com have vowed to keep spoilers away.

“A lot or our tips about spoilers are coming from fans,” Good says. “There’s a groundswell from fans who find these links and send them to us, saying, `I’m not going to look at this, but somebody told me about it.'”

“I just hope they find these people and punish them accordingly,” said Leaky Cauldron Web master Melissa Anelli. “This is exceedingly wrong and mean-spirited. Let people enjoy their book, for Pete’s sake.”

Last month, a hacker who identified himself as “Gabriel” claimed to have broken into the computer system of British publisher Bloomsbury PLC and posted key plot points on seclists.org/misc/harrypotterspoilers.html.

Those plot points differ from what is revealed on www.zendurl.com/h/hallows/…..

“There is a lot of material on the Internet that claims to come from `Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ but anyone can post anything on the Internet and you can’t believe everything you see online,” Good says.

“We all have our theories on how the series will end, but the only way we’ll know for sure is to read the book ourselves at 12:01 a.m. on July 21.”


  1. Fun theory to read, giving, as it does, a whole new meaning to narrative misdirection .. if true!

  2. Travis Prinzi says

    Several folks over at SoG have expressed similar theories: that Scholastic is behind the “leak,” trying to throw everyone off the trail.

    At the very least, I reported at SoG, last night, based on a NYT article, that Bloomsbury is reporting 3 “very convincing” leaks that all conflict with one another. So those of us who have been “spoiled” in any way may very well have read information from one of the fakes. This is very good news!

  3. Travis Prinzi says

    And I DO wish newspapers would stop reporting that “Rowling has said 2 characters will die.” Two MORE characters will die than she had already planned. That’s what she said.

  4. For updates on the “Dubious Hullaballoo” (and reasons why Joyce’s page number theory won’t hold up…), check out the DHW Day Four post at Sword of Gryffindor with special attention to the comment boxes. No Spoilers!


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