Thursday, July 19, 2007

ONE MORE DAY (well, almost two) TO GO

Editor's Note: Not that we're counting. (Cause we're not really BREATHING now, and that is required for counting!)


All of these items were sent to me by my two most stalwart dweebpals: PlanoKevin, and OddBob. (Who even sent in stuff that isn't insane. Well, I THINK it was OddBob.....not sure now....)

FYI....I am not even reading this first article. I don't even want to know what spoilers I'm NOT reading.

Harry Potter Spoilers Proliferate

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, , 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 .

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 and 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 .

Those plot points differ from what is revealed on , which contradicts itself on the fate of Potter's buddy Ron.

"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."

Harry Potter and the OTHER Dark Arts
I thought I'd bought a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

So why, sitting there with my popcorn and my blue Icee, did I get the feeling I'd walked into some allegory about the Bush administration?

The resemblance between the White House and the Ministry of Magic of this film was unsettling --- from star chamber-type inquiries to a takeover of Hogwarts School, where the Ministry's senior undersecretary becomes the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. She teaches strictly to the test and the text, and as for the tests themselves, the OWLS exams -- well, let's just call them the No Wizard Left Behind tests.

The Harry Potter books have been sliced and diced six ways from Christmas, and the online speculation about J.K. Rowling's politics runs from the libertarian to the totalitarian.

Whatever Rowling's politics, her job description for this Dark Arts teacher here could have gotten Dick Cheney hired for the post. Once the Dark Arts instructor is promoted to Hogwarts headmistress, she posts so many ''thou shalt not'' ukases that she runs out of wall space. She despises disloyalty, and to ferret it out, she enlists spies -- so much for loyalty. She inflicts corporal punishment that wouldn't pass muster with the Geneva Convention, and tries to use an illegal curse to squeeze Harry Potter for information.

This character's name? Dolores Umbridge -- a name that conveys ''sorrows'' and ''anger.'' With the last Potter book landing in stores this week, she'll probably be out looking for work. I know just the administration that might have a spot for her for her ... Editor's Note: This would be funny, if it weren't so very very sadly true.....

Row in Israel Over Potter Sabbath Launch
JERUSALEM (AP) - The figure responsible for Israel's latest religious row is a bespectacled British teenager who is gifted with magical powers, world famous and entirely fictional.

The synchronized worldwide launch of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and last installment in the wildly popular series, falls at 2:01 a.m. local time this Saturday - on the Jewish Sabbath, when Israeli law requires most businesses to close.

With Israelis already clamoring for "Deathly Hallows," many bookstores are planning to launch the book at the appointed hour. That has drawn fire from Orthodox Jewish lawmakers, including Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai, who threatened to fine any store that opens Saturday.

"Israeli law forbids businesses to force their employees to work on the Sabbath, and that applies in this case as well. The minister will fine and prosecute any businesses which violate the law," said Roei Lachmanovich, a spokesman for Yishai, of the ultra-0rthodox Jewish Shas party.

Avraham Ravitz of the United Torah Judaism Party slammed the Potter books for their "defective messages."

"We don't have to be dragged like monkeys after the world with this subculture, and certainly not while violating our holy Sabbath," Ravitz said in a statement. Editor's Note: 'dragged like monkeys'? I sure hope that is just a bad translation of what he said. Cause otherwise, we now have to worry about all those scuffed up monkeys!

Steimatzky, Israel's biggest bookstore chain, is holding a gala event in Tel Aviv beginning Friday night to launch the book, and the company has no plans to change the time, said spokeswoman Alona Zamir.

"We're required by our agreement with the book's publisher to launch the book at the same time as everywhere else in the world," Zamir said. Editor's Note: And we now know who is more powerful....God or a book publisher.

The chain has already received tens of thousands of advance orders for "Deathly Hallows" in English, with the book's Hebrew translation due out close to the end of 2007, she said.

Worldwide, the Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies, have been translated into at least 64 languages, and have been spun off into a hit movie series.

The book's author, J.K. Rowling, has indicated that two characters die in the new book, leading to speculation that one of them might be Harry himself.

Harry Potter literary mash-ups
Ever wonder what the world of Hogwarts would be like as rendered by famous authors both dead and alive? Wonder no more. ZACH DUNDAS bringsyou J.K. Rowling's last chapter as interpreted by the likes ofHemingway, Zadie Smith and others.

How will billionaire Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling wrap up hermassive magical saga of a boy wizard's confrontation with cosmic eviland adolescence? Soon we'll know.

But frankly, plot aside, we already know how Rowling writes: like she's never met a tree she didn't want to kill in the name of an800-page tome. Editor's Note: He says this like it's a BAD thing. Sometimes More is GOOOOOOD.....

The Potter frenzy got us thinking-how would other writers handle theend of this cash-spinning franchise? What if Hemingway went to Hogwarts? What if iconic feminist author bell hooks or hip, equally British butmuch less rich novelist Zadie Smith had to deal with pubescent wizards?Where would hardboiled king Raymond Chandler take the story?

And what if -- gulp -- ye olde Associated Press wire of yore had to "cover" the endof Harry Potter from the front lines?

We'll never really know. But consider these five literary mash-ups ourloving tribute to Harry and the gang ... or at least all the characters Rowling lets live by the end of this last book.

It was dim and cool in Hogwarts. The walls were gray and the pictures could talk. At the top of the Astronomy Tower, Harry lay in a bed.Through the window he could see a hill and a road with pebbles andboulders that looked wet and he could also see the Death Eaters marchingup to the castle in black robes. His arm hurt some. His leg hurt also. He had only one eye after Snape attacked him with the Cruciatus Curse.He sweated and he grunted.

"They are coming," Hermoine said. She sat at the side of the bed and was crying but she was very beautiful.

"Yes," Harry said.

The Quidditch season would begin soon and the Seekers would practice with the Snitches on the muddy fields and come back to the dressing rooms tired but know it was a good day. The Quaffles would be brown or red or black or something, he could not remember and neither couldanyone else.

Harry knew he would not play Quidditch again. Ron was dead. Fleur was dead but beautiful. McGonagall was dead also. Neville was dead but no one could remember his significance except nine-year-olds who could explain it exactly.

"What will happen to us?" Hermoine asked. She wept and she was beautiful as Harry looked at her with his one eye. "I do not know," Harry said. "I do not know." His scar hurt and theywaited.

Angelina Johnson strode back and forth in front of the class. Who was Angelina Johnson? The strong sister pushed out to the margins, her voice expropriated by the magical white folks who dominated the Harry Potter narrative, an overarching construct of systemic institutionalized sexism and racism.

Sure, black folks like Angelina Johnson were good enough toplay Quidditch-bread and circuses.

Today it was going to be different,because today was Angelina Johnson's first day as Hogwarts' instructor in Magical Women's and Ethnicities Studies.

"Today," she said. "We're going to talk about the term 'dark magic,'"she began. The class sat up. "What do white folks mean when they say 'dark magic'? "And we're going to talk about the whole Voldemort thing.Is he for real, or is the Dark Lord just a diversionary ploy that creates a passive emotional backdrop for a vision of the Magical Universe that is fundamentally conservative and in no way in oppositionto the beliefs and values of white Muggle culture?"

In the back of the class, Harry looked at Ron. Now what had theygotten into?

Early in the morning, late in the century, Diagon Alley. At 0627 hours on January 1, Ron Weasley pointed his own wand at his face, hoping the judgment would not be too heavy upon him. He was resigned to it. He wasprepared for it.

Ron Weasley attempted suicide because of Harry Potter. Why did "theBoy Who Lived" always get the glory?

But just as Weasley was about to perform the Avada Kedavra curse onhimself, a flock of urban vermin swooped in on Parvati Patel's Subcontinental Shoppe for the International Wizard.

Parvati rushed out, wand in hand, and dispatched six of the Mugglish pigeons with a single Aguamenti blast. "Six!" Parvati shouted. Then she noticed Weasley lyingin the gutter.

"No one zaps himself with the Killing Curse on my property!" she shouted. "We are not licensed. You hear me? No suicides around here, my friend."

Ron had a kind of epiphany. Life had said Yes to Ron Weasley, in the form of a character that a lesser author might have used as mere multicultural window-dressing. From now on, he would be the Boy WhoLived.

HOGSMEADE, U.K. (AP) _ Tom Riddle, the embattled wizard commonly known as Voldemort, was killed Tuesday in an incident involving student Harry
Potter at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry near here.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Magic said the incident took place during the school's annual graduation ceremony. The official, who spokeon condition of anonymity because the matter was still under investigation, said Potter, 18, was critically injured.

Witnesses described the use of a number of high-powered curses, or spells, during the incident.

Wizards have magical powers. Authorities did not give further details.

Riddle and Potter were linked through a number of conflicts in recent years. Riddle allegedly killed Potter's parents.

Potter is a well-known Quidditch player.

Minerva McGonagall, the school's headmistress, delivered the commencement address. Editor's Note: LOL!! Makes me glad I didn't pursue journalism.

Potter was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and he didn't care who knew it. He was calling on five million gold galleons.

The sleek, tall butler who opened the door looked as proud as an auror's prize-winning hippogriff on a Sunday afternoon. He let Potter into a hall that would have fit a flotilla of well-fed basilisks. A dame sat in a chair at the far end and didn't get up.

"Good day to you, too, Ms. Granger," Potter said as he sat down. "Lovely household you have here. Seems like a nice place to have bad habits in."

"I didn't hire you for wisecracks at my expense," she said in a voice as cold as the Defense Against Dark Arts dungeon.

"That's okay. They come free of charge."

She sniffed. "Well, Potter -- I suppose you found what you werelooking for."

"What you were looking for, Ms. Granger," Potter said as he produced a slim manila envelope. "I was just your full-time errand boy for 25 galleons a day plus expenses."

Granger opened the envelope, taking care to hide the magical moving photograph inside from Potter. Nuts to her -- he'd had a good look: Ms. Granger and a half-giant named Rubeus Hagrid, both wearing slightly less than Adam and Eve.Editor's Note: ewwwwww.

She shuddered. "I suppose that's an end to this beastly affair. Now get out."

"That's a swell way to talk," Potter said. "You may have the money around here, Ms. Granger, but if not for me you'd be looking at that picture on the cover of the Daily Prophet. Your old pal Weasley didn't like the idea of handing it over. He needed a little persuasion. I learned that in charm school."

"I hate you," she said, closing her eyes. "Get out."

Potter got up and put on his hat. He guessed the butler would have his money. He'd get on his broom, fly home, have a butterbeer and like it.

Zach Dundas is a writer based in Portland, Ore.

The Top 15 Guesses at the Last Line of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (Part I)

"Lord Voldemort was vanquished, but the wacky adventures of Anakin Potter had just begun!"
"And then Harry joined hands with J.K. Rowling, and they set off, dragging the huge crate of money behind them, laughing all the way to the bank."

"It was many, many years and a good many adventures later that Harry, as he was known in bygone days, greeted the small man who answered the round door with a hearty 'It is good to see you again, my friend Baggins!'"

"Lord Voldemort, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

"So it's off to Wizard College for Harry and his friends, where Ron reduces his brain to a grey, quivery pudding in his first semester after hollowing out his Quidditch broom to make the most magickal, mind-blowing bong on record."

"You know, Hermione, you should wear more sweaters."

"And then Harry awoke, still in his small bed under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive, and turning to Suzanne Pleshette, said, 'Man, that was one long, freaky nightmare -- I dreamed I was a wizard.'"

"Oh, Auntie Petunia, there's no place like Hogwarts!"

"As the three friends turned away, the last of the trains pulled out of Paddington Station with its cargo of doomed muggles."

"But before Hermione could console him over his rookie failure, Harry cried out, 'Cialis Erecto Viagralum!'"

"The Dursleys of Number 4 Privet Drive never saw it coming."

"Caressing the stiff wand, Harry replied, 'I wish I knew how to quit you, too, Ron.'"

and the Number 1 Guesses at the Last Line of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"...
"Suddenly, everybody was run over by a truck."
Editor's Note: Umm...huh?


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