New Harry Potter Role-Playing Mobile Game Hogwarts Mystery Coming 2018

/ Thursday, January 18, 2018
Harry Potter Role-Playing Mobile Game Hogwarts Mystery
Our Hogwarts letter has finally arrived! Ready your wands and robes because here comes another way to act out our biggest fantasy: new Harry Potter role-playing game will be dropping this year! The first trailer for Jam City's Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has dropped, and IT. IS. EPIC.

Check out the trailer!
For the first time, players will create their own personalized avatar and character to experience life as a Hogwarts student. How will you use your time and at Hogwarts? Your key decisions will impact how your story goes from attending classes and learning spells to making friends or enemies.

As part of the new label Portkey Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment invites fans to join Hogwarts in the 1980s. The timeline takes place before Harry Potter is born, so we should expect a lot of familiar faces of former students and staff like Professor McGonagall, Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore. 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will be available in the App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore in 2018. For more info, check out the Facebook page, Twitter, and website. I'll be adding more details as they're announced!

Are you excited to become a Hogwarts students? What do you want to explore the most?
Harry Potter Role-Playing Mobile Game Hogwarts Mystery
Our Hogwarts letter has finally arrived! Ready your wands and robes because here comes another way to act out our biggest fantasy: new Harry Potter role-playing game will be dropping this year! The first trailer for Jam City's Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has dropped, and IT. IS. EPIC.

Check out the trailer!
For the first time, players will create their own personalized avatar and character to experience life as a Hogwarts student. How will you use your time and at Hogwarts? Your key decisions will impact how your story goes from attending classes and learning spells to making friends or enemies.

As part of the new label Portkey Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment invites fans to join Hogwarts in the 1980s. The timeline takes place before Harry Potter is born, so we should expect a lot of familiar faces of former students and staff like Professor McGonagall, Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore. 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will be available in the App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore in 2018. For more info, check out the Facebook page, Twitter, and website. I'll be adding more details as they're announced!

Are you excited to become a Hogwarts students? What do you want to explore the most?
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Mary GrandPre Artwork
illustrator Mary GrandPre
In July 2017, Bloomsbury and U.K. fans celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with beautiful commemorative covers. And now, fans in the U.S. will be excited to know that Scholastic will be also be celebrating the first publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with their own new covers!

As announced by Scholastic, "these gorgeous new editions in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone feature a newly designed cover illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick, as well as the beloved original interior decorations by Mary GrandPré."

In speaking with Pottermore, Selznick described, "I’m a big Harry Potter fan and it is an incredible honour to illustrate J.K. Rowling’s iconic series,’ says Brian. ‘I am thrilled to play a part in this exciting 20th anniversary celebration and look forward to meeting Harry Potter fans and readers across the country."

Fans may already be familiar with Selznick's work. He designed the acclaimed book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which director Martin Scorcese turned into an 11-time Academy Award nominated movie Hugo. Most recently, his book Wonderstruck was adapted last year, starring Julianne Moore and Millicent Simmonds.

The entire series will be released with new covers designed by Selznick, starting with the initial release in July 2018. A collective box set of all seven books will be released in September. Additionally, the new covers will be part of a year long campaign with special celebrations taking place at bookstores, libraries, schools, and festivals.

Can't wait to see what the books will look like this year! Are you excited for what's ahead in 2018 for Harry Potter?
Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
Next stop Paris! On November 11th, 2018, Newt Scamander will be jettisoning around the world on his next adventure for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It seems like yesterday when Warner Bros. treated Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fans to a glimpse of the cast in a promotional shot. And, now we have our first look of the sequel!'

What we know so far:
At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Here are the first set of images for the next movie!

Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
Newt Scamander is reunited with Tina Goldstein (Katharine Waterstone). Both are looking over their shoulders with concern with their hands on a set of doors marked by numbers. What's chasing them?

Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
A younger Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, sits in his office with an unknown character staring on. Dumbledore seems impressed and curious by the person he's talking to, but who is it?

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
Gellert Grindelwald ominously stands in the street with Vinda Rosier (Poppy Corby-Tuech). The Rosier surname will sound familiar as Evan Rosier in the Harry Potter series joined forces with Voldemort. So it seems a pension for wizards who are up to no good runs in the family.

Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
The last time we saw fan-favorite Jacob Kowalski, he had his memory erased as account of being a No-Maj. But all is not lost as he reteams with Newt. But why is he carrying a bucket?

Newt Scamander in in Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald
Photo: Warner Bros Pictures
Something dangerous lurks in the sewers of an unknown city as Scamander trounces underground with his trusty suitcase by his side. Is he looking for something he unleashed, or is he facing someone or something else?

What do you think of the new Fantastic Beasts images? Are you getting even more excited for the sequel? 

Photo: SWNS/Canongate Luxury Apartment.
If you want to live at Hogwarts, a new luxury apartment created by superfan Yue Gao might be as close as you can get. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, Canongate Luxury Apartment pays homage to the wizarding world that has bewitched generations of fans.

The apartment comes with a Gryffindor inspired master bedroom, Hogwarts Express second-bedroom, fully stocked kitchen and beautiful bathroom. Two pieces of furniture even belonged to J.K. Rowling

Gao described her labor of love to SouthwestNews, "I didn't want to turn it into a cheap copy of the film, so it's more like an homage from a huge fan rather than [a] copy of the movie. I think this house holds collected memories of a whole generation of people who grew up watching Harry Potter."

Scotland is the perfect location to house this apartment straight out of the wizarding world. Its the city which famously inspired J.K. Rowling to start writing about the boy who everyone in our world would come to know his name.

The apartment is available to rent year-round. Visitors can expect to pay about $206 (£150 GBP) per night. Photos are courtesy of SouthwestNews and Canongate Luxury Apartment. (If you're looking for more magical inspiration to enchant your house or apartment, Get the Wizarding Look is a great place to start!)

Photo: SWNS/Canongate Luxury Apartment.
 Gryffindor Common Room with custom maroon and gold curtains, a ceiling with candles like The Great Hall, and a four-poster bed

Photo: SWNS/Canongate Luxury Apartment.
Second-bedroom modeled after a carriage in the Hogwarts Express

Photo: SWNS/Canongate Luxury Apartment.
Kitchen comes fully stocked with Harry Potter inspired dishware, washer, dryer, coffee maker, and dishwasher

Photo: SWNS/Canongate Luxury Apartment.
Hallways are plastered with portraits just like the halls of Hogwarts

A Celebration of Harry Potter Universal Studios
The countdown has begun! A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is on its way. For the past four years, wizards and witches from around the world have gathered at the world-renown theme parks to celebrate the Harry Potter franchise and participate in demonstrations, panels, and exhibits. This year's event will be held for the fifth time on January 26th-28th 2018, and line-up is already taking impressive shape. The guide will be updated as more news and details are announced. Here's a look at the event so far with cast, panels, and activities!


Cast

Cast members from the film franchise participate in Q&As over the weekend, answering fans' questions about their experiences making the massive Harry Potter movies. As of December 14th, Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks) has been added to the talent list. This year's current line-up includes: Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley).

A Celebration of Harry Potter cast panel

Panels

One of the many great attractions of A Celebration of Harry Potter are the panels. Experts from the film franchise share their amazing experiences of making the cinematic world of Harry Potter.

‘Graphic Design for Film: Creating the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ will be held by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the genius graphic designers from MinaLima, who have created the graphics behind the film franchise.

Costume Designer Jany Tamime for the last six Harry Potter films will share the magic behind the film's costumes

Special effects supervisor John Richardson on all eight movies will divulge all behind-the-scenes secrets you can discover at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Exclusive Merchandise

A Celebration of Harry Potter, in collaboration with the franchise's graphic designers MinaLima, release a variety of exclusive merchandise with a brand new design. This year's event will include a commemorative wand, t-shirts, backpacks, and a new Chocolate Frog Card of Bertie Blotts. Universal Orlando Resort Blog offers a bigger look at this year's spectacular design and products featuring the Hedwig soaring over the Hogwarts Castle.

Universal Orlando Resort blog

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle

After introducing a new light show for the holiday season, Universal Orlando Resort is celebrating house pride with a spectacular new light projection across Hogwarts castle. Fans can watch a stunning new display of special effects and sounds celebrating the spectacular houses starting January 27th and 28th. If you're not attending A Celebration of Harry Potter, the show will begin again on January 31st, until future dates are announced.

A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 exhibit

Activities

If you're not at a panel or exploring the Harry Potter theme park lands, there's always more to experience around every corner. On several different sound stages, there's demonstrations of how to make a magical entrance like the Beaubaxtons and Dumstrang students, wand battle skills, chalk sidewalk art, and knowledge channels.

Wizarding Costumes from Harry Potter: The Exhibition will display stunning costumes from the film franchise. Fans can walk the runway to pose in a one-of-a-kind keepsake photo.

The Sorting Hat Experience will sort fans into the legendary houses Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Gryffindor.

Pottermore quizzes fans with trivia using Audible Recall (audio versions of the Harry Potter books), and can even play against their fellow housemates with house-specific questions one each day of the event.

Scholastic celebrates 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published by inviting fans to write their favorite memories on the Muggle Wall and to step inside a life-sized recreation of the copy. Fans can even enter to win a one-of-a-kind prize.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter returns with an opportunity to see the incredible effects used in the film series

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child prepares its opening on Broadway with exclusive never-before-seen looks at the costumes, designs, and production stills.

Learn Wand Combat Skills with Paul Harris (Kids and Adults)
Fans can learn how to duel with the world's only Wand Combat Choreographer Paull Harris. The Kids' panel will be offered for guests ages 12 and under.

Dane like a Beauxbatons and Battle like Dumstrang
From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, fans will work with Universal Orlando's choreographer to learn the movements and techniques to the Beauxbaton and Dumstrang dance routines

How Do You Attend?

A Celebration of Harry Potter takes place within Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Most panels and demonstrations are free with the price of regular admission or annual pass into the theme park. Universal Orlando is currently offering vacation packages with special perks.

Visit the Universal Orlando official website for more information, and check back here as this page will be updated with new details as they're released!
Voldemort Origins of the Heir fanmade film review
When we read the Harry Potter books, our imaginations fill in on all the details. Even as adaptations are made and can only fit so much from the page onto the screen, what we envision is allowed to live in our minds every time we pick up the original thing. With a phenomenon as vast as the wizarding world, it’s exciting when fans can take what they picture and make their own stories. Like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, where its hardcore admirers create their own characters and adventures, director and writer Gianmaria Pezzato took a slice of author J.K. Rowling’s magical history for his own inspired interpretation and casts a fun spell for what fans can achieve if they dare to believe.

Adapting a slice of Tom Riddle’s dark past in creating the Horcruxes, Voldemort: Origins of the Heir takes us back to the early years of Hogwarts when the enigmatic student is on an inevitable path to darkness. He uses his access to Borgin and Burkes’s clients of rare objects to begin his creation of horcruxes, but there’s something he must do to make himself immortal: split his soul into seven pieces.

If you’ve read the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, plenty of this film’s plot uses Riddle’s background as its starting point, especially the murder of Hepzibah Smith. But there’s also room for the new, the director and writer’s point-of-view of what could’ve happened: heirs of the other houses trying to intervene with Riddle’s obsession with immortality. Grisha McLaggen, heir of Gryffindor, in particular trails down her friend’s famous diary, a pivotal item that comes into play in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But there’s something stopping her, a Russian wizarding army that captures her while trying to extract the diary.

As a fanmade film, one shouldn’t expect the story to adhere strictly to the canon Rowling created. A familiarity to the original material might make it difficult for the movie to live up to high expectations. For fans looking to rate the details, there are a few goofs here and there that the writing could’ve double-checked (Ravenclaw’s symbol is an eagle, not a raven for example) and saved itself some critical headaches. The story as is mixes old and new, adding a friend-turned-vendetta narrative into what we already know about Riddle’s early life.

The plot itself isn’t necessarily catchy in the beginning, giving the feeling that some material from the trailer might've ended up on the cutting room floor. Once the intrigue has some time to settle in, the one-sided plot gives some unexpected twists that are sure to excite. And, there's a few cool action sequences - who doesn't love a wand battle? For the most part, Pezzato's story offers a unique dive back into the the unexcavated parts of Riddle’s life that failed to make it to the big screen the first time around.

What we typically expect from a big studio movie like realistic effects, dramatic music, and detailed costumes, somehow makes it way toYouTube. The movie goes as far as to dub the Italian actors for English, and sought the approval of Warner Bros to release it on such a big platform. Pezzato goes above and beyond to appeal to fans with his unique ideas. His cast is definitely charismatic, fitting into a cinema sphere that Warner Bros could've used in their own franchise. What this clan of fans came up with is exceptional and impressive. Voldemort: Origins of the Heir is a fun side-adventure back into the wizarding world, it just takes a little detour from the version we know by heart.

Rating: ★★☆
What did you think?
Twitter #BlackHogwarts Reimagines Harry Potter
The Harry Potter series is beloved around the world, but there's no denying some of its questionable elements. One of which is the lack of diversity in the wizarding world throughout the movies. With speaking roles making up only one percent of the entire eight films, people of color are highly underrepresented. We can't use our timeturner to undo some of the whitewashing, so we can always count on Twitter to right some of the wrongs in the fandom.

Tweeters created their own #BlackHogwarts and used the hashtag to reimagine pivotal moments and characters. (And guess what? J.K. Rowling made sure to share her support.) Check out some of the best tweets I found on Twitter, and make sure to check out the tag yourself, which is taking the social media platform by storm.
Bloomsbury Announces New Chamber of Secrets Covers
Just in time to celebrate Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets's 20th Anniversary this summer, Bloomsbury UK will be releasing new covers for the second book of the series.

Similarly to commemorate Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone anniversary last year, the publishing house which began the wizarding world phenomenon in 1997, will be re-releasing the second title in hardback and paperback versions for each Hogwarts house - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw

Known as the house edition covers by its corresponding colors, the new Chamber of Secrets was designed by Levi Penfold. Both versions will include additional content such as an illustration of the house common room, a house introduction, and a mini-feature on house-elves (fitting since the second book introduces the beloved house-elf Dobby!)

Bloomsbury UK has confirmed plans to release new covers for the rest of the series over time - we assume one new cover each year as their subsequent anniversary dates arrives. Fans in the U.S. are waiting to see if Scholastic will follow suit and celebrate their own re-release of the book series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone house editions are still available. This new release is currently only available in the UK. You can pre-order Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Bloomsbury UK. The book will officially be released June 28th, 2018!


Are you excited for the house editions? Which Hogwarts house will you be celebrating?
Barnes and Noble Harry Potter
When you're a witch or a wizard, looking for magic in the Muggle world is part of the lifestyle. From overhearing people chitchatting about the series to finding real life locations that remind us of the books or movies, we look for hints and trails of Harry Potter everywhere we go. When we find it, the day is one step closer to being magical.

Cue the moment when I was visiting a local Barnes and Noble, and as usual, searching for their Harry Potter section. Usually, it's a table with all kinds of goodies - books, wands, puzzles and toys. Hit me with a confundus charm because this time I found a whole row dedicated to J.K. Rowling's wizarding world.

This shouldn't come as too much of as surprise considering just how much the series has (never really gone away) had a resurgence of sorts from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone celebrating it's twentieth anniversary. But this was still an amazing find - an entire row dedicated to Harry Potter filled with books, plushies, magical creatures, games, wands, dvds.

I couldn't miss out on sharing the joy of finding a bit more magic in real the world. Be sure to check out your own local Barnes and Noble and what their Harry Potter section looks like! What are some of your favorite Harry Potter things to discover in your every day life? Feel free to share in the comments!




Barnes and Noble Harry Potter
Barnes and Noble Harry Potter
Barnes and Noble Harry Potter
Barnes and Noble Harry Potter
Harry Potter Weekend on FreeForm
The grand tradition of Harry Potter Weekends is sadly coming to an end. For the past several years, FreeForm has celebrated the wizarding world phenonemon with weekend-long marathons, airing all eight movies over the course of three (or more) days. For those who might not know, it's a magical tradition fans have looked forward to as the channel regularly gave shout-outs to characters like Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom, or added an extra bewitching spell to the holiday season. Earlier this year it was confirmed that the movies would eventually transition to new channels in 2018, thus bringing the epic Harry Potter Weekends to an end.

Luckily, FreeForm is not letting 2017 go without a bang so big it would make the fireworks-experts Weasley twins jealous. Starting Thursday, December 28th, Harry Potter fans can ring in the new year with one last marathon of good versus evil.
If you're looking to tune into the last marathon, FreeForm has its full schedule available. So, enjoy a butterbeer and grab that special Potterhead in your life to make some more memories for your pensieve. Here is a copy below:

Thursday, December 28th

3:00 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
6:30 PM MOVIE NIGHT WITH KARLIE KLOSS - Movie Night With Karlie Kloss Karlie and friends watch the film ``Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.''

Friday, December 29th

12:00 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
3:30 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS
7:30 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN

Saturday, December 30th

9:00 AM HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
12:40 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
3:50 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
7:30 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1
11:00 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

Sunday, December 31st

7:00 AM HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE
10:40 AM HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX
1:50 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
5:30 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1
9:00 PM HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

The Future of Harry Potter Weekends

There's still a glimmer of hope to hold onto, Potterheads! Immediately in 2018, Harry Potter Weekends might just be opening at the close. HBO struck a deal with Warner Bros and will host its first every marathon on New Years Day, running all eight Harry Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them uncut and commercial free. Afterwards, the films will be available on their network and streaming devices. Also, starting summer 2018, NBC Universal's new deal signifies that new marathons might be available in the future on channels like USA or SyFy.

And, if you really want to test your survival skills as a Potterhead, check out my tips on how to have a Harry Potter marathon in one day!

Are you going to be tuning in for the final showdown? What were your favorite memories of Harry Potter Weekends? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Harry Potter Christmas Celebration at Universal Studios Orlando
For the holiday season this year, Universal Studios theme parks decked the hall of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. To the delight of Harry Potter fans, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been magically transformed for Christmas. (Here's my visit at Hogsmeade and the Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts). I was lucky and excited to dash over to the Harry Potter theme parks in Orlando and see the transformation at Diagon Alley. Take a look below for all the special spots you don't want to miss this holiday season! Hope you enjoy!

Harry Potter Christmas Celebration at Universal Studios Orlando
Stuck between a bookstore Screed and Sons and a record shop, The Leaky Cauldron remains undercover from Muggles in plain sight as the rest of London dazzles with lights and wreaths.

Quality Quidditch Supplies Harry Potter Christmas Celebration
Christmas Celebration Decorations at Universal Studios
Take a special look at the wreaths lining the store shops at Diagon Alley. Each one has their own specially themed decoration. I absolutely loved the wooden letters for The Daily Prophet and wreath of yarn balls for the Wool Shop.

Wiseacres Christmas Celebration at Universal Studios
Universal Studios Christmas Celebration at Harry Potter
There is so much to look at Diagon Alley already. Not one inch of the landscape is glossed over. Wiseacres and The House Elf Placement Agency (above) is lined with ribbons and lights. Dobby looks on over Carkitt Market high above a mysterious closed door, while the Owl Post has its own special wreath.

Ollivanders and Knockturn Alley Christmas Celebration
Olivanders Shop and Knockturn Alley
While Ollivanders always look marvelous, it was wonderful to see it spiffed up for the holidays. Meanwhile, not a lot of merriment can be found in Knockturn Alley. Its wreath is as ominous as the cursed objects one might discover there.

Universal Studios Christmas Celebration at Harry Potter
Just around the corner from Ollivanders, you can always count on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to add all of these small details like little broomsticks.

Weasleys Wizard Wheezes Christmas
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes always manages to put a smile on my face. The attention to detail with the wreaths was absolutely delightful - one can find little fireworks in the trimmings.

The Leaky Cauldron Christmas
Decorations for Diagon Alley isn't just for the storefronts. I enjoyed a hearty feast at The Leaky Cauldron, which was also lined with furs danging across the ceiling beams. Wizards and witches can now enjoy warm butterbeer and new specialty items added to the restaurant menu.

Weasleys Wizard Wheezes decorations
Another look inside Weasleys Wizard Wheezes and The Leaky Cauldron.

Weasleys Wizard Wheezes Christmas
If Diagon Alley wasn't already bewitching during the day, it becomes even more magical once nighttime falls. A look at Weasleys Wizard Wheezes all dressed up.

Universal Studios Christmas Celebration at Harry Potter
A beautiful look at Diagon Alley lit up for the evening.
Actor Johnny Depp Controversy Over Fantastic Beasts Casting
Despite continuing the phenomenon of the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts hasn't had the smoothest rise to success. Sure, it's a box-office phenomenon and us Harry Potter fans enjoy the spin-off of Newt Scamander's adventures with his many magical creatures. However, one dark mark against the series by fans and critics has been the controversial casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald.

Back in 2016, as development for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was underway, actress and then-wife Amber Heard to Johnny Depp accused him of assault involving violent outbursts and filed for divorce. (Links maybe triggering for some: Variety. NY Daily News, and Jezebel offer full evidance of the complicated proceedings). At the time, fans and critics were stumped when Depp was later revealed to be playing one of the most prominent figures in wizarding world history. An uproar casually sparked about the casting prompted author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates to come to their own and his defense. Despite the controversy, the movie itself continued to become a success in theaters worldwide, with four subsequent films planned for release.

Fast forward one year, and the climate of movie-going and entertainment has fundamentally changed. In 2016, the accusations Heard made were tatter for tabloids to sensationalize and stir the gossip machine. Now, late into 2017, Hollywood has faced overwhelming accusations of sexual assault involving producers, directors, and actors which has shaken the industry to its core.

Johnny Depp as Gellert GrindelwaldAs new information about the second Fantastic Beasts was released in November 2017, Depp's reputation once again divided the fandom. Fans took to twitter for Warner Bros to remove Depp (they addressed their stance in December 2017) and replace him or supported the renowned actor either for his charitable contributions as a major star and his longterm career, filled with numerous beloved roles from Edward Scissorhands to Jack Sparrow.

The victims who spoke up, and millions of others joined the fiercely powerful #metoo movement, saw many of the predators promptly dealt with professionally. Actor Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer in the upcoming All The Money in the World and was fired from Netflix's House of Cards. Producer Harvey Weinstein was dismissed from his companies, expelled from the Motion Picture Academy, and faces several lawsuits. To name a few. But in the case of Depp's casting for the five-film franchise, his role as a wizard caught in the crosshairs with Albus Dumbledore (to be played by Jude Law) prominently continues.

In contrast to multiple victims who were silenced with ruined careers and financial blackmail through a manipulative exertion of control and power by Spacey and Weinstein, Depp has also only faced one incident. Friends, his daughter, and romantic partners have came forward to defend their positive experiences with the actor, and the incident between Heard and Depp - as far as the public knows - were rare.

As news of the sequel continues to spark controversy, lurking behind the fandom is something as sinister as dark magic itself: victim shaming Amber Heard in defense of Johnny Depp.

Surprisingly, within the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fandom, sympathy towards Heard is not widely reflected. One only has to join a related community on Facebook, Twitter, Heard's instagram, and any post about the controversy with Depp to see the comments echoing dangerous and damaging stereotypes such as: "she's a gold digger", "she faked the bruises she had", "her bruises were just make-up", and "lol'ing at the fact that she arrested too for the same hting" (This incident, often cited against Heard was denied by her partner).

Harry Potter Cupboard Under the Stairs
Generations of Harry Potter readers gleam many different moral messages from her stories - to stand up against authority, to fight prejudice, to do what is right instead of easy.

At the center of the epic saga is a young boy who lived with abusive relatives. Before finding refuge in the wizarding community, he was forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs while his emotional, mental and physical well-being was disregarded. Other forms of abuse recur throughout the series from Professor Snape's indecent treatment towards his students, house elves who are enslaved to magical folks forced to injure themselves for going against their master's orders, to misfits Hagrid and Newt Scamander supporting and protecting magical creatures from mistreatment. This in turn has been the motivating factor for fans who have not supported the Fantastic Beasts franchise so far, citing that the casting of Depp contradicts key values the series was founded on: respect, equality, and tolerance.

Legally, and fundamentally, the divorce was finalized, and the parties released a joint statement saying: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love...Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm." Heard requested the divorce settlement of $7 million to be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Heard nor Depp have issued statements over the controversy about his casting, and will likely not get involved as the finalization ceased public communication about the matter.

Ultimately, the case between Depp, Heard, and any legal standings is over. But, an abuse survivor's experiences should not be dismissed purely because it does not measure up to what we believe or have been taught by society to think about abusers or the accused, or what any of us only know from the sidelines. We all are far outside of the matter at hand, and many of judgement of what happened between the two should not further cause harm or perpetuate stereotypes about domestic violence.

Artists and celebrities are not perfect people, nor should we hold them up on a pedestal for their work. But that's often what we do as a society. Perhaps, for some, the ideas that someone in the public we know is not who we are thought they are, or that we refuse to let one person's actions tarnish a beloved artist's past and current work, are the emotional grassroots fans are facing in their defense of Depp. When it comes to characters and the actors who play them, we can judge for ourselves the validity of their guilt or innocence without victim shaming.

What comes now is the beliefs and actions we choose to stand for as a fandom community. Fans can support Depp's casting in the series without victim-shaming. Fans can boycott the spin-off to send a message to Warner Bros, David Yates, and J.K. Rowling. Or support Fantastic Beasts and use it to speak out further against domestic violence and abuse, raising awareness, and help local women's shelters or National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. We as the Harry Potter generation can do better.

For more information on domestic abuse or to get help for yourself/someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call 1-800-799-7233.
Actor Johnny Depp Cast in JK Rowlings Fantastic Beasts
The Fantastic Beasts spin-off is gearing up for its second movie set for theatrical release next year, but is facing some substantial backlash along the way. As the film's title was announced in November, Warner Bros and company were under fire for one essential casting element: Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, ex-lover and foe of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (to be played by Jude Law).

While making his first appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in 2016, the actor was charged with allegations of domestic violence by his soon-to-be ex-wife Amber Heard. Though the complicated divorce proceedings were ultimately settled between the pair, Harry Potter fans continued to call on a change of the role due to Depp's history.

Though staying largely out of the commentary of whether Depp should be removed or stay on for the role, author J.K. Rowling finally released a statement on her her official website (can be read in full at the link):
[...] Both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.[...] I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing. 
Further lending his support to the productions' casting, veteran director of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchise David Yates called the controversial casting of Depp "a dead issue". In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he further addressed the backlash further and the issue between the couple:
Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening. With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.
Depp's casting as Grindelwald promises to be a prominent role in the upcoming four films. The first sequel is subsequently named after his character, and the story eludes to exploring the great battle between himself and Dumbledore in depth.

While Warner Bros, director, and author's intention to support their choice might've been to soothe the backlash, the choice of words by Yates and Rowling has only garnered more attention. Fans are disappointed not only with Yates's position that insinuates victim-shaming and perpetuates dangerous stereotypes, but with Rowling's stance considering the issues woven through Harry Potter.

Abuse, bullying, respect, and equality are just some of the themes readers grew up taking important life lessons with them into adulthood to create social change in the real Muggle world. Rowling's choice of seemingly siding with Depp comes to a surprise for Potterheads considering her use of novels and twitter to speak out against human rights issues (from immigration to domestic violence). Additionally, Rowling also went as far as to block fans who disagree or criticized her stance before making the official statement.

While it is true that the couple settled their divorce and moved on, the public continues to judge for themselves. Whether fans to choose to separate the art from the artist to support the series and Depp, or boycott the upcoming sequels entirely, continues to be an ongoing divide in the fandom.

UPDATED: 
Amber Heard has broken her silence via social media regarding the news swirling around Depp's casting. She re-posted the original statement both her and Depp released at the time of their settlement, and noted that some of the details by Warner Bros, David Yates, and JK Rowling has left out vital info about their contentious separation.
Do you think all of the backlash towards Depp and Fantastic Beasts creators is blown-out-of-proportion or worth it to take a stand against?