harry_potter books

Here’s another reason for Harry Potter fans to cheer their favorite books and author J.K. Rowling.

According to three new studies conducted by Loris Vezzali of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, people exhibit a marked difference in empathy and tolerance for others before and after reading the Harry Potter books.

The article, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, studied how children and university students treated “out-groups” and found that subjects who read the books were more accepting of those people who are different than they are:

We conducted three studies to test whether extended contact through reading the popular best-selling books of Harry Potter improves attitudes toward stigmatized groups (immigrants, homosexuals, refugees). Results from one experimental intervention with elementary school children and from two cross-sectional studies with high school and university students (in Italy and United Kingdom) supported our main hypothesis.

Scientific American summarized the study result this way:

Of course there are many factors that shape our attitudes toward others: the media, our parents and peers, religious beliefs. But Vezzali’s work supports earlier research suggesting that reading novels as a child — implying literary engagement with life’s social, cultural and psychological complexities — can have a positive impact on personality development and social skills.

I gotta say, that’s pretty cool. I think I may need to thank my parents for starting me reading as early as they did.

(io9 via The Mary Sue)

pine marten

You’ve likely wondered what your Patronus would look like, and so has Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. She was recently asked about this on twitter, and said that her patronus would be a pine marten. This adorable little squirrel-fox thing is very rare in Britain but is found in large numbers in Ireland and Scotland. Isn’t it just the cutest Patronus ever?

On that note, Rowling also teased the possibility of a Patronus test coming to Pottermore, so you may have an official answer to this question soon.

See the tweets after the break.

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Those looking to explore the Dark Arts will get their chance with a new addition to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. This is the first time they’ve added to the tour since it opened in March 2012. What is currently the Malfois Manor fireplace will grow to become the Death Eaters HQ on Tuesday, October 14th. The display will include Charity Burbage suspended overhead, Nagini sitting on the table, and other assorted props like the Hand of Glory and Vanishing Cabinet.

To celebrate this new part of the tour, there will be Dark Arts activities from October 17th through November 3rd. You’ll be able to see the Halloween feast from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and there will even be Death Eaters patrolling a spookier than usual Diagon Alley.

See more pictures after the break.

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It was a key part of the story that Harry Potter be sorted into Gryffindor when he arrived at Hogwarts, but have you ever imagined what would have happened if he’d been sent to another house? Would he have gone bad in Slytherin and helped the Death Eaters take over with Voldemort? And what about Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff?

Now you get to choose which house becomes Harry’s home in this series of comics. Head on over to Dorkly where you can see how differently things would have gone if Harry hadn’t been a Gryffindor.

hp quills 1

Whether you’re taking notes about the proper pronunciation of a new spell or writing out the month’s rent check, using a quill will make the task cooler. Extra points if you use a Harry Potter Hogwarts house pen from Etsy shop Mythical Menagerie. The fantastic writing instruments are made from dyed pheasant feathers that are hand painted to match the crest of each house. Each one is made to order and though they’re sold out right now, the seller will be restocking soon.

See some detailed shots after the break.

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(via Twisted Doodles)


Fans of the Harry Potter books got a gift over on Pottermore today in the form of a new song from and bio on Celestina Warbeck aka The Singing Sorceress.

Celestina and her songs have shown up throughout the book series and, in an exclusive interview with Today, J.K. Rowling reveals that Celestina is one of her favorite “off screen” characters:

Celestina Warbeck is one of my favourite ‘off-stage’ characters in the Harry Potter series, and has been part of the Potter world ever since its inception, making an early appearance in the short-lived ‘Daily Prophet’ series I produced for members of the equally short-lived fan club run by my British publisher, Bloomsbury. Although we never lay eyes on Celestina during the whole seven volumes of the Potter books, I always imagined her to resemble Shirley Bassey in both looks and style. I stole her first name from a friend with whom I worked, years ago, at Amnesty International’s Headquarters in London; ‘Celestina’ was simply begging to be scooped up and attached to a glamorous witch.

The song is called “You Stole My Cauldron But You Can’t Have My Heart” and, if you have a Pottermore log in, you can view the full video there.

You can also check out a portion of Celestina’s show at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after the break.

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hp back cover art 1

Bloomsbury Publishing recently worked with illustrator Jonny Duddle to give the Harry Potter covers a makeover. While the new art is a little too spoilery for me, I can’t deny Duddle’s style is gorgeous. And guess what? The back covers weren’t left out. Mugglenet revealed the art on the backs of the books, and the images feature Hedwig, Dobby, Draco Malfoy, and more.

See the rest of the covers after the break.

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Fifteen year-old Cassidy Stay was the sole survivor in a terrible shooting in Austin, Texas on July 9th, in which her entire family was killed.

Even in the midst of an unspeakably sad and emotional time, Cassidy stood up at the memorial service and shared a quote from Albus Dumbledore. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

People were so moved by her words and her attitude, that a Facebook page called “We Want JK Rowling To Meet Cassidy Stay” was created in hopes of making that happen.

Well, they seem to have gotten J.K.’s attention and, while she didn’t meet Cassidy personally, she did send her a package.

LDS.net reported:

According to sources close to the Stay family, Cassidy received a package from Rowling with a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the book Stay quoted from in her remarks. In addition, Rowling sent Stay a letter with her condolences. In the letter, Rowling wrote several paragraphs from the point of view of Albus Dumbledore, telling Cassidy what the headmaster would have told her if he could have.

The Facebook page later confirmed that Cassidy received a personalized, handwritten letter from ‘Dumbledore’ (in purple ink) along with a wand and an acceptance letter to Hogwarts with a school supply list.

Needless to say, Cassidy is an amazing and inspiring person. I can only hope she helps more people see the wisdom of Dumbledore’s words.

(via The Mary Sue)

harry potter scott pilgrim

YouTube user The Unusual Suspect has mad skills when it comes to putting together different franchises. He’s the genius behind the Star Wars cut to the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer mash-up, and now he’s sliced footage from all the Harry Potter films in Scott Pilgrim trailer style. It’s freaking brilliant. The addition of comic book style sound effect lettering pushes it over the top. I love it.

Watch the mash-up and the original Scott Pilgrim trailer after the break.

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