Ultimate Year in Review: 2005

For MuggleNet’s 20th anniversary, we are looking back at the past 20 years in Harry Potter history to bring attention back to its most significant moments. This is a series of articles that will run over four months. Our previous article covered the years 2002–2004.

This week, the Time-Turner takes us all the way back to 2005, a year full of political events and technological developments: Pope John Paul II passed away, the IRA announced the end of its armed campaign, Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female chancellor, YouTube was founded, and the BBC relaunched the popular sci-fi show Doctor Who.

In news surrounding Rowling, the Harry Potter franchise, and MuggleNet, 2005 was a year of a lot of exciting announcements.

One of the biggest pieces of news in 2005 was when David Yates was officially named the director for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We would later learn, of course, that Yates would become the director of the last four films in the series as well as the Fantastic Beasts franchise. However, back in January 2005, Yates was unknown since he had so far only directed episodes of BAFTA-winning shows – The Young Visitors, State of Play, The Way We Live Now, and The Sins – but had yet to make a Hollywood debut. Producer of the Potter series David Heyman made a statement in the press release:

I am thrilled that David Yates is going to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Not only does he have tremendous passion for the world of Harry Potter, but he is [also] a great director with a keen visual sense who fills every frame with humanity and compassion for his characters.

Much awaited was the release of the Half-Blood Prince book cover on March 8 for the US, UK children’s, and UK adult editions. With the help of fansites like MuggleNet, fans started sharing their ideas and theories based on what could be seen on the cover. When the book was later released in July, it would reach record-breaking sales numbers of 6.9 million copies.

 

 

It was also a big year for MuggleNet, which cohosted Spellbound 2005, a huge Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince release party, with the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator. The event ran from Friday night to Saturday morning and was the world’s biggest release party for the sixth book. Only days later, Melissa Anelli from the Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet’s founder, Emerson Spartz, interviewed J.K. Rowling.

The interview contains information on how J.K. Rowling wrote the books, whether she rereads the books herself, and how she keeps track of her literal boxes of backstory. Rowling talks about the things she loved and hated writing and her reactions to fansites like MuggleNet, as well as how world events shaped her writing. She goes into the intensity of the books and whether she sees the actors in her head when writing, as well as how she keeps her family’s life normal.

 

Emerson, Melissa, and JK Rowling

 

Since 2005 was also the year podcasts became more widely disseminated due to the increased accessibility of the technology used to both produce and share them, MuggleNet created the first major Harry Potter podcast, MuggleCast, which quickly rose to #1 on iTunes’ podcasts chart. Encompassing Harry Potter news, theories, and a read-through of all the Harry Potter books, the podcast quickly gained a large audience. Listener participation and special interviews with Potter cast members further ensured the popularity of MuggleCast.

The year ended with the Goblet of Fire world premiere in London on November 6, kicking off a series of worldwide premieres. Fans camped out overnight to get the front-row places to meet the stars of the film. Daniel Radcliffe shared his excitement with the BBC:

If this doesn’t get you exhilarated, nothing else will.