Watch Hogwarts Unfold by UnPop Stop-Motion Animation

Built from the pages of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, UnPop creates a magical stop-motion animation of Hogwarts unfolding right before our eyes! Readers never forget the memories we have entering J.K. Rowling's imaginative and exciting world.

UnPop's wonderful first short film recognizes the power of a story that lives in us while we are awake, and even while we dream.

As the famed author once said, "Whether you come back by page or by screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you." We are sure to return to this creative tribute to our favorite series many times in the future.

Ideas for Harry Potter Halloween Costume: Weasley Wizard Wheezes

It's that time of the year again to dress up for Halloween. The Harry Potter series popularly inspires ideas for trick-or-treating, whether it's dressing up as a specific character or showing our house pride. One of the biggest attractions in Diagon Alley is the Weasley Wizard Wheezes. Originally started and operated by George and Fred, there's no reason why we can't pretend we're a Weasley or one of their employees for Halloween or Cosplay.

Like what you see in this post? Stay tuned! More creative ideas for Costume and Cosplay will be available soon.

Wanna look exactly like the Weasleys? Consider heading over to a local second-hand shop or Etsy for professional wear. Start with a brown suit and build from there. For George and Fred, they mixed complimentary colors - purple tie or orange tie with green vests, olive and mustard.

In the wizarding world, everyone is usually dressed to the nines in an early 19th century-esque attire. Consider a dress (or suit like the ones above) that matches colors with the Weasley Wizard Wheezes official logo.

Add some pizzazz to your outfit as you get the word out on the streets about their product. Wear a Weasley Wizard Wheezes pinback button, cuddle with a pygmy pyff, or hand out some chocolate frogs.

Don't feel like dressing up? Go causal with this Staff T-shirt by thegadzook on redbubble, and some brown or even purple pants. Add some accessories above and you're ready to get some candy!

The New Pottermore Has Been Unveiled: A Brief Report

Originally opened for beta testers in 2011 and then officially open to the entire internet April 2012, Pottermore was once a journey fans could make exploring all seven books through illustrations and moments. Now three years later, the hub of the Potterhead crowd has changed its direction.

As promised by the Pottermore team, part two of the interactive Harry Potter made its major transition. Nearly after a week when the final House Cup was released in September 2015, the website unveiled its new feathers as well as design and features.

Welcomed Favorites
A major hit for fans was the new information written exclusively for Pottermore by J.K. Rowling. Instead of perusing the website book-by-book or waiting for new intel on Twitter, the website now has a page dedicated to links of her writings.

When making our way through the books on the older Pottermore, an extract was featured for every chapter. This old favorite remains on the website - now in simpler text form - titled as Explore The Story.

Character Profiles remain on the website. Instead of a brief description of the character and a list of moments the character was involved in throughout the series, visitors can enjoy a combination of moments, artwork, quotes, film stills, and details such as their name, wand, house and patronus.

New Features
With the simplicity of the website, more blog-esque posts are added to the website under Features. Posts such as 16 Pearls of Wisdom by Albus Dumbledore or 5 Death Eaters You'll Never Forget. Posts such as these were once unheard of and now the website already has numerous individual posts dedicated imaginative behind-the-scenes information from the books and films.

An accessible, more elegant and simplified design is obviously Pottermore's aim with the overhaul, but it may be a downside for hardcore fans. Will the new design suffice? Personally, what is missing thoroughly is that unique personalization - a void fans will have to get used to.

Pottermore has succeeded in becoming its own official online encyclopedia, but whether the easier, smoother design will keep fans invested will remain to be seen. As of now, the website does not understandably include as many from the books as much as before, but this does not mean more information will be added in the future.

What's replaced a personalized exploration is the "Pottermore Correspondent". Giving an insider's feel to the website, blog posts, interviews, and features about the series has been published by a specific author, if as of now unknown author, confirmed as not J.K. Rowling.

New Design
The revamping of Pottermore is a smoother and simpler one. Having originally started on the web before the popular use of mobile phones and tablets, Pottermore's improvements will be more user-friendly. The design - overall - is less bulkier and plays to a mix of a website as well as a blog.

An insiders' tidbit is that the wizarding world has been colored coded for the web. Through a giant flow chart, the designers decided on the color scheme for every character, object, and moment by breaking them into how they were described by J.K. Rowling, does it have house allegiance, is it material, and whether it’s bloodline is noble, ignoble or Muggle. So every page is thoroughly created for every character, object, and so on.

A collection of the wondrous illustrations from the previous Pottermore as well as more artwork and stills from the series are included throughout the website - therefore not limiting itself to one medium or the other.

Even better with the new inception is a search bar tool. Nearly every website is required to have one so visitors have that ability to go to pages they are specifically looking for. This was a tool that was not utilized in the former look, and now I will say it is accessible to find specific characters, objects, or books.

Through the menu, visitors can easily jump to Writing from J.K Rowling, to News, and the Shop with a click of a mouse. Long gone is the exclusivity of the website where visitors had to sign up to explore the website - it is now open to everyone.

What's in Store for the Future?
While the personalized profiles for readers may be long gone, Pottermore promises to add back some of our old favorites: a Sorting Hat Quiz. Discovering whether we were Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin were major draws to the original concept of the website, and this feature will be coming back at some point. Another potential quiz that is on the horizon is the ability for fans to discover their own Patronus - something we've had been looking forward to.

Though the book and film series may have concluded, and new information will be added to over time, news and articles will be included as well.

In 2016, a spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will kick off a trilogy of installments based on the character Newt Scamander. Coverage has already begun for the film series on the website.

A stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be hitting the London stage. Details of the play have been very tight-lipped, except for the adamant confirmation by Rowling that this production is not a prequel. More information about this project is promised to be added as news develops.

Pottermore 2.0 has already kicked off with information and visuals to satisfy fans, and offers the promise of much more innovate and interesting details from the books and movies we love. Will the design and simplification keep readers returning. We shall see!

What the Harry Potter Series Taught Me About Death

Death is a recognized stage of life. Its power and presence is unpredictable, taking loved ones swiftly, sometimes after struggling against an illness or in a gentle motion like quickly falling to sleep.

The first experience I had encountering death was when I was eight years old. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and her battle was a lengthy one. Throughout her tiring and difficult treatment, my time with her was seldom, little visits during the holidays and when recoveries seemed near. Her cancer had taken its toll for nearly two years. I knew she had passed one morning after a hospital visit with her, and waking up to the feeling that someone close to me was gone.

Memories of my grandmother and her funeral flowed in and out of my life, keeping me company when I was reconnecting with my past. However, like the third brother hiding from death under an invisibility cloak in The Tale of the Three Brothers, I seemed to escape death during my teenage years. Perhaps because I lived a cautious life or my acquaintances and family was a small number, I didn't meet it again until college.

Our family cat was twenty-one years old when she died. It seems to be a common piece of knowledge or assumption that "around that age" animals are reaching that inevitable point of departure. For a pet, who if she was a person could have been my younger sister, an illness swept her away so quickly, it took us all for one of the biggest shocks of my family's lives.

After the passing of our cat, another boom was lowered on us in early 2015, about a year later: our twelve year old dog Lola became sick. As her "mother", I felt I did everything consciously responsible - took her to multiple vets' for opinions and diagnoses, tried a myriad of treatments, celebrated her recoveries and supported her in relapses. Having graduated from college over the summer, I was able to sit with her in her final months. I spent nearly all of my life in her company having been homeschooled, working from home, and attending college a few times a week - the time we were side by side was a true gift.

Nearing the conclusion of Lola's life, diagnosed with the late stages of cancer despite my multiple attempts at early detection, she spent her last days at home. She was reasonably comfortable showered in love, kisses, pettings, seeking out water and food, and going on golf cart rides around our neighborhood for people watching. She was around family, and I was by her side until the very end. Even in the last of her finale days, she was a true Gryffindor.

The ones that love us never really leave us. And you can always find them in here.
As a reader of Harry Potter, which its characters are no stranger to tragedy, was a major aid in understanding what is so heartbreaking about the pain of losing loved ones. Harry lost so many over the early chapters of his life: parents, friends, animal companions, professors, and accomplices.  Every loss for Harry provided a different stage and lesson towards the person he would become. My unwanted familiarity with death, like Harry's throughout the series, transformed my concept of it and life itself.

We can't control when our family and friends leave us. We may be gifted with the anguished opportunity to hold a relative's hand or pet's paw, giving them a ray of comfort when they need it most. Our losses give us a chance to appreciate even more what fills our lives with happiness, peace, and contentment.

The love I had for my grandmother has remained with me. I wonder if I make her proud and try to do my best to do so. Our pets calmed my nerves and refilled my sense of optimism during busy or bleak days at college, work, and home. Their presence gifted me with friendship for many years, weakening the sense of loneliness I was too often familiar with around people.

Many days are filled with despair - with the void of wanting someone who isn't here anymore. Thinking about our experiences sometimes makes me feel empty because I'd give anything to cuddle with Lola, or give shrimp to our cat, or see my grandmother one more time. But, memories also remind us of the thousands of good days we had; they turn on the light during days of darkness.

As Lola was on her way out, reflection became apart of my regular routine. She continually taught me to love unconditionally; her kind gaze always shining with acceptance, excitement, and curiosity. She taught me to live in the present moment. My cat, who was a bit of an introvert and hermit, taught me it's okay to take time for myself away from the crowd. My grandmother gave me reasoning to live and grow beyond the opportunities she had fought for or couldn't have at my age. Every day that drifts further from the day they inevitably left this world leaves a stronger impression to remember and carry them with me.

Grief does not have a timestamp. Mourning is not an obstacle course of emotions that have be pushed through and completed; it's endured and becomes smoother, not easier, to accept the pain that's left. But we can honor our deceased family and friends with our attitudes, actions, and decisions - to endure their loss, look towards the light, and feel the power of love we shared with them, and to continue to love others. It is far worse to live without love, and I will appreciate what they gave me - both time and companionship - in more words than I could express. The ones who leave us still have power to affect us, and we can decide if that is for good or for bad. It's essential to accepting that the ones who love us never really leave us - they live on in us forever.

JK Rowling reveals we've been pronouncing 'Voldemort' wrong

J.K. Rowling once again has set twitter and the Harry Potter fan community aflame with the revelation that the ‘t’ in Voldemort’s name is silent. Some fans have thought this has been common knowledge for quite some time. Other Potterheads have apologized to Rowling for mispronouncing the Dark Lord’s name all these years.

The surprising confession might beg the question why this was not shared or relayed to the films’ producers - in which all eight movies pronounce a prominent ‘t’. Nevertheless, it’s one new fact that fans can add to the collection of post-series insights that have been made by the beloved author.

Pottermore 2.0: What's Next for the Wizarding World on the Web?

Pottermore users logged into the website today with a major surprising announcement: it's moving into phase two!

Since the launch of the website in 2012, Harry Potter fanatics have been able to get officially sorted, have the wand choose us, and discover exclusive information offered by J.K. Rowling as we explored moments from the books.

Now three years after its inception, Pottermore is looking to make changes in what they call part two of the website.

“Part one of Pottermore’s story, in which you have enjoyed the depiction of Harry’s story through illustrated ‘Moment’ artwork and experienced life within Hogwarts, is ending,” Pottermore announces. “We are now preparing for part two of Pottermore’s story to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore, becoming a place to imagine more and share in a world beyond the seven book series.”

As the wizarding world as we know it continues to expand in our own Muggle world, so will the website be moving beyond Harry’s years at Hogwarts. The final house cup will be awarded September 9th, and then it’s estimated that the overhaul will begin or be launched. Additionally until September 16th, Pottermore is offering certificates to users who have participated in part one of the website (simply log onto the site and click the link)

Here is what my certificate looks like:

What does this mean for our experiences on the website so far? Details are scarce for the time being. Specifics on the updated website is limited so far.

However, did J.K. Rowling hint at Pottermore's new overhaul over the summer? In a twitter exchange about Newt Scamander's adventures, Rowling revealed that Salem Witches Institute (mentioned in Goblet of Fire) is not the real U.S. wizarding school. Probed for more information, Rowling tweeted:

 In response to a twitter follower, Pottermore revealed that the artistic illustrative moments will be “changed as we know them” and will be packed with new features. Perhaps the website will explore new grounds with the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them adaptation that will be hitting theaters in 2017. Time will tell.

Photo of the Week

All signs point to Hogwarts.

15 Harry Potter School Supplies to Accio Brilliant Grades

School is just around the corner! If we learn anything from the Harry Potter series, it's essential for us to sort out our priorities for the upcoming term. Accio brilliant grades with these school supplies that'll add a little magic to your studying. Enjoy!